Some movies like last night's King's Ransom are bad and could never have worked under any circumstances. Some movies like tonight's Darkness are bad and could have easily worked under different circumstances. But, alas, no. What could have been a pretty chilling horror movie was instead a confusing mess that had no thrill at all.
Darkness is your standard haunted house fare. Family moves into a house. Kid starts hearing weird things under the bed. Father goes insane. Teenage daughter is the only one who figures everything out. Et cetera. In this case, the father is played by Iain Glen (who I quite like as Jorah Mormont on Game of Thrones) and the daughter is played by Anna Paquin. So you have some acting talent, but they are asked to deliver nonsense. And I don't just mean that the lines are poorly written; they seriously often don't make any sense. It's just a bunch of words strung together that are supposed to convey some sort of plot about Satan worship, but don't make the viewer care at all. Speaking of Old Scratch, I'd like to revise one of the most famous lines in modern cinema. It is not true that the greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn't exist The greatest trick the devil ever played was working his way into movie after movie even though that whole thing was pretty tired even by the time Sardo Numspa came after Chandler Jarrell.
But even the worst script in a horror movie can be saved by true scares, but this one has none of those. There are ghostly kids inhabiting the house, but they really just stand there and stare at people, which is about as scary as the Today Show audience. Every time someone is about to be killed, we instead get flashes of millisecond clips of weird images, which is about as scary as a kaleidoscope. At the end, the evil turns out to actually be darkness, so all of the killing occurs when the screen is pitch black, which is about as scary as turning your TV off. Which I could have easily done to escape the boredom. The director went for super artsy instead of super scary and missed. Could have been creepy, ended up with incoherence.
So, yeah, in the end it was all about Darkness, imprisoning me, all I could see, no absolute horror. So bored that I felt like I could not live, but I could not die, trapped in myself, images on the TV my holding cell. Maybe better off without my sight or hearing, too.
Ninety-one down, nine to go.