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Darkness
2004 - PG-13 - 102 Mins.
Director: Jaume Balaguero
Producer: Julio Fernandez
Written By: Jaume Balagero
Starring: Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Giancarlo Giannini, Fele Martinez
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: movies.fantasticfactory.com/darkness/
   

Creepy wet kids... ooooh scarrrry
With 'Darkness.' his shrouded in the shadows attempt at a horror-thriller, director Jaume Balaguero has proven that not all foreign directors and their respective styles make for entertaining takes on the horror genre. This could be perceived as a good thing, at least if it keeps distributors from picking up countless more (and sometimes inferior) Spanish, Asian, etc. films to either remake or release in the U.K. and the U.S. While films like 'The Ring' made for good remakes, films such as 'Darkness' (not a remake but a foreign-borne project) are inept examples of the horror genre. After all, it's not like there aren't any good such films with a more homegrown (i.e. Hollywood) genesis. Heck, one could pick almost any horror film given a wide release since the dawn of the new millennium (sans, of course, Rob Zombie's horrifyingly dreadful 'House of 1000 Corpses') and it would stand up to Balaguero's horrid abomination that is 'Darkness,' a film so lacking in every facet of storytelling and filmmaking that it should have gone direct to video where it would have been appropriately ignored.

The film's problems start with what could have been, in the right hands, an effectively simple premise that Balaguero maims through needlessly complicating every ounce of the storyline. The basic premise is this: a family moves into a decrepit old mansion in the countryside of Spain where decades before, a family's six children were murdered with a seventh left unaccounted for. Soon strange events begin to occur around the house and it isn't too long before a link is made between what happened in the house's past and the events happening in the present. The filmmakers though couldn't stop there, as they
introduce a plot strand involving a solar eclipse, withcraft/Satanic rituals, among a various sundry of other malnourished details the filmmakers don't even bother attempting to explain.

The film compounds an already incomprehensible base with incessant jump-cutting as a way to mask the on-screen violence in an effort to garner the ever-desirable PG-13 ratings certificate. In effect, this leads to disorientation on the part of the viewer for much of the film's last half as the camera jitters and shakes even more so than the infamous 'Blair Witch Project.' As if things couldn't get any worse, the film somehow manages to waste a surprisingly stellar cast with the likes of Anna Paquin (the 'X-Men' films), Giancarlo Giannini ('Man on Fire,' 'Hannibal'), Iain Glen ('Resident Evil: Apocalypse') and Lena Olin ('Chocolat') forced to flounder through absolutely insipid dialogue and meandering attempts at action sequences during the unnecessarily busy finale.

In the end, all of the aforementioned deficiencies add up to one abominable attempt at creating a haunted house horror-thriller and the single worst film of any kind released in the year 2004.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Unwatchable.  One of the worst of the year.  Skip it.
  0.5 out of 5 stars

 
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