I’ve spoken quite a bit about horror films recently, and what it takes to make one good. Just because a horror is well shot and acted, does that make it good? What if you feel tense and scared during the film, even though you can acknowledge that the film has a bad plot or it doesn’t make sense? Ideally of course a film will be both, and while that’s rare to come by, it does happen occasionally. In the case of The Darkness however, we have a film that is neither.

Whilst on a holiday to the Grand, the Taylor family manage to leave their young, autistic child alone and unsupervised for around ten minutes. This is plenty of time for him to fall into a hole, discovering what seems to be an ancient place of worship from a civilization that no longer exists, pick up five creepy rocks that make a strange, esoteric noise as he removes them from the alter they were resting on, put them into his bag, and find his way out of the labyrinth he crawled through, all before anybody noticed. As pretty much anyone might expect, when the family return home, strange things start happening, and it seems like they might have brought more home with them than happy family memories…

The Darkness Review

Excluding the way in which it’s executed, the set up of this film is not terrible. Once you get a little further into the mythology, it’s actually pulling from an interesting part of history that a lot of people (myself included) may not know anything about. It’s just a shame that quite literally nothing else in this film works.

Let me start with the characters. Every single one of them is a horrible horror cliché. The creepy kid that’s infatuated with whatever may or may not be haunting the family. The older teenage sister who only cares about her appearance, rarely speaks to her parents, and screams as often as the story will allow. The mother who turns to alcohol because she’s convinced people won’t believe the stories about what she’s been experiencing. The father with a job that can best be described as ‘business’, who’s tempted to cheat on his wife, and refuses to believe anything that’s been happening is more than coincidence. It’s more than that though – we also have the brash, bullish boss, the seductive wife of a friend, and the older non English speaker who just so happens to know more about what’s going on than anybody else, and might be able to help them with the supernatural entity.

The Darkness Review

It’s not just characters that we’ve seen before, it’s also what happens that’s meant to be scary. Taps turn on by themselves. Doors open and close. Animals act strangely. Someone has to go to hospital. It’s all been done so many times that watching The Darkness as a parody might even make it more enjoyable. Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell do their best with what they’re given, and I would say even have some good acting moments, but they can’t salvage this poor attempt at making a horror film.