darkness falls | jonathan liebesman | john fasano | james vanderbilt | joe harris | chaney kley | emma caulfield ford | lee cormie | tooth fairy | fantasy | mystery | thriller | united states | australia | angus sampson | emily browning | antony burrows | grant piro
Film: Darkness Falls
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writers: John Fasano, James Vanderbilt and Joe Harris
Starring: Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield Ford and Lee Cormie
This is a movie that I remember seeing soon after it came out. I’ll be honest, I enjoyed it. It was one that seemed to be on the movie channels quite a bit, so I would watch this regularly. It has some issues, which was something I recognized even back then. This is the first time watching it with a critical eye. The synopsis is a vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the only child, now grown up, who has survived her before.
Now for this movie, we start with getting this backstory. It is told in a voice-over and showing pictures. We have Mathilda Dickson who would give gold coins to children when they lost teeth. I like setting up a real story for the lore of the tooth fairy. When two children go missing, she is blamed. Her punishment was burning her alive, during which she cursed the town. The horrible thing ends up being, the two children were found the next day, safe and sound. Since then, the urban legend is to not peak when you lose your last tooth. If you see Mathilda, she will kill you.
That will then take us to the mid-1980s. Kyle (Joshua Anderson) has lost his last baby tooth. His mother tucks him in. A young lady by the name of Caitlin (Emily Browning) comes into his room through the window. She asks if he wants to go swimming at the quarry and he declines. They do kiss though and he asks her to the upcoming dance. She accepts before leaving. Kyle wakes up in the middle of the night and sees Mathilda. His mother tries to put him back to bed and she is killed. Kyle is then taken into foster care, being blamed for the murder.
We then shift to the present. Caitlin (Emma Caulfield Ford) is now an adult and looking over her brother, Michael (Lee Cormie). He has night terrors and they’re at the hospital trying to figure out how to help him. He is terrified of the dark and thinks that Mathilda will get him. Knowing this was the same urban legend that terrified Kyle, she reaches out to him. As an adult, he is Chaney Kley. It is funny that he lives in Las Vegas. He never got over his fear. Every night he sleeps with lights all around his apartment and a bunch of flashlights. Caitlin asks him for his help and this brings him back to Darkness Falls.
They’re hoping that Kyle can share with what he did to get over it, but much to their surprise, he shares he’s still living in fear. He wants to help though. The town isn’t happy to see him. When deaths start to pile up around him, he is accused of them. They soon realize there is something much darker.
That is where I’ll leave my fleshing out of the synopsis. I’m assuming most people my age has seen this movie or at least know of it. When I hear people mocking this movie, they laugh about the fact that our killer is the Tooth Fairy. I don’t mind this as the idea. Being that she can only attack you when you’re in the dark is fine. This is playing on one of the more common fears of the dark, myself included. Going from there, the town being called Darkness Falls is a bit cheesy, but I’ve seen worst. They even reference the lighthouse early into the movie and that is where the final showdown takes place. I think this is all fine. Nothing that blows you away, but I see what they’re doing here.
What I noticed this time around and being more of a seasoned horror fan, this movie is boring. We get a decent set up. It sets up by Kyle is haunted by this and we are giving a bit of a mirror with Michael going through the same thing. Kyle points out to Matt that there is a usually high number of disappearances of children over the last 100 years. Even the look of Mathilda is good, but as I was saying in the last paragraph, which is where it ends. When someone is attacked, they’re pulled away. The body afterward might be dropped or thrown, but too much happens off screen. It gets repetitive and it struggled to keep my interest. There are some good things here, but it doesn’t utilize them for me.
Where I’ll go then would be the cinematography and effects. Now for the former, I like what they do with trying to keep our characters in the light. Some of this I think comes off as cheap and doesn’t necessarily work. I can forgive some of it. The cinematography in general is fine. I do like the idea with Mathilda that the reason she fears the light is due to being burned. Her skin is sensitive. The porcelain mask she wears is creepy. What we see underneath is CGI, but it looks fine. It is weak though on the effects for what I’ve said already.
Going from there I’ll take this to the acting. I think that Kley comes off as wooden. He isn’t great as our lead. Ford is about the same. She looks sad and even tired, but I don’t get a lot of emotion. The same could be said for Cormie. The rest of the cast is fine. I think some of the issue there is the writing. I did find it interesting to have Angus Sampson here, who I know from the Insidious movies. We also get a young Browning who did a lot in the 2000s. No one stands out here to me though.
That is about the extent of what I wanted to go into for this movie. I think there was potential here, but the movie was plagued for when it came out. Having the tooth fairy be the killer is a bit cheesy, but I like what they do with the idea. Being that she sticks to the dark and if you peak, she haunts you until you die. Trying to keep our characters to the light adds difficulty. My problem though is that we don’t get to see the kills. The acting is bland and the movie just doesn’t use what works for the movie. I will say that the cinematography and the soundtrack both are fine. Younger me liked this movie quite a bit more, but as an adult I see this as below average.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 10