I’ve recall reading reviews of Greg McLean’s The Darkness at the time it was released in theaters and got the impression that it wasn’t worth seeing though it turned up on Netflix recently, and I gave it a watch.
And almost immediately realized that I and the critics were sorta right-in the sense that it’s a relatively small movie that I’m not entirely sure warrants being on that big screen.
And that’s not a slight because in the past four or five years some of the most innovative productions have been on the small screen.
And I’m also not saying that I think it’s bad–far from it–but it’s also not a movie that necessarily benefits from being seen in theaters because it’s a small, almost subdued portrayal of a family under siege from supernatural forces (based on Native American legend).
Though what I found most interesting–and brought me the most joy–was that The Darkness plays like a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s–or is that Steven Spielberg’s–Poltergeist (1982) and a replacement for the misfire that was Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
The Darkness isn’t as groundbreaking Poltergeist or it’s sequel from a FX perspective, though it involves the same elements–ghosts plaguing a family, Native American connections to said entities, a not-quite-as-diminutive ghost-whisperer and a young person drawn to the spirits-as it’s sequel.
It’s surprisingly effective and works really well though–as I mention in the video–the depiction of a kid somewhere on the autism spectrum set me on edge just a bit.
I’ve had minimal interaction with anyone with autism so I can’t exactly speak to the accuracy of the portrayal though what bothered me was that he often went about doing things not only not in his family’s best interests, but his own.
Then there’s his relative helplessness throughout the bulk of the movie– until the plot needed him not to be.
It’s not a minor gripe, and to be honest does diminish the movie somewhat though it’s still better than Poltergeist II and would make a much better sequel to Hooper’s horror feature, which for my money makes it well worth catching.