- News - Reviews
- Interviews - Mistresses
Talk - Quizzes - Links
- Movie Malls
Trailers - Screensavers
- Scripts - Wallpapers
- Who is The Arrow - Contact
Darkness Falls (2003)
| Directed by:
specter nicknamed the “Toothfairy” has an old score to settle with the
inhabitants of “Darkness Falls” (nice name for a town…sheesh) and
she be killing. When Kyle (Kley) was a young boy, he survived an encounter
with the vengeful spirit and twelve years later, the peeved Fairy is still
on his pallet. Things get heavier when she begins to hunt his childhood
sweetheart’s (Caulfield) little brother and everybody else in the area
who happens to take a peek at her sweet self. Sensitive bitch, isn’t
she? She stalks, they run. Here we go!
start this review with an excerpt from my interview
with director Jonathan Liebesman:
I think that the studios underestimate their audiences sometimes.
I totally believe that too, so what I tried to do with this film is to
hold back as much as possible to keep it ambiguous for the first half
where you're not sure and you don’t see...it's all shadow play: was that
a shadow, was it in his head, what the fuck are we looking at?
I interviewed Jonathan, he seemed a little stressed out. Why? What I
gathered was that during the shoot, he wanted the film to be one thing (a
classy horror movie) and that the studio wanted it to be another thing (a
mindless "monster on the loose" piece of candy). Well, I got bad news for you
all; the studio won this tug-of-war and a lot of what Jonathan told me
was aiming for, did not make the final cut.
Falls" did open its tale on the right fear page though, with a mucho snazzy
montage explaining our tooth loving beeyatch’s back-story. It followed
that razor opening with a chilling prologue that had me by the collar and
that surprisingly wound up being the best scene in the whole movie on
every cinematic level. The sweet love thang between the kids was way cute
and by far the more fulfilling bit of human interaction in the house. As
for the stalk scene, it kicked my ass with its dark ambiance, potent
suspense and visual panache. I freaking adored the final shot of the
sequence in the bathroom. NICE! Up
to that point, I felt so much hope for what was to come and I was
expecting a rocking good horror time at the out house. I was RIP wrong.
Falls" went on to crawl in the footsteps of "Soul
See You" and "They"
as yet another recent horror opus that looked like it got
trimmed of its healthy fat in the editing room by apes in suits who
thought they knew something about what makes a good horror film tick (they
didn’t know shit). Running at 75 minutes (is that even legal?) this
sucka was more akin to a sharp collage of kool images than a full movie.
Yes, the narrative was dragged down by some ridiculous dialogue (count the
variations on the line “stay in the light”), grating side players and
minor plot holes along the way, but its worse cavity was
the person (s) out there who didn’t think we (the audience) could
handle a layered and evenly
paced “story”. To him/her/them, I say: "Kiss my fries with mayo on the
responsible for the character development here? Raise your hand mofo! Show
yourself! The substance in this mix was beyond rushed and that hurt the
whole so bad! Who was that moping kid again? What was Caitlin’s deal?
What did Kyle live through after his misfortune? I never got a chance to
find out at a satisfying length. The relationships between the leads were
also flimsily addressed while the plot turns constantly happened in a
pre-mature ejaculating fashion, failing to garner the whoopass
they should’ve had! I so
wanted to get to know these people and to have the opportunity to be
absorbed and knocked out by the storyline! But noooooo! All of the meat
was tossed out the window in order to sprint to the action-heavy second
half. What a damn shame.
brings me to the slight upside: the second half of the movie was basically
an obvious, but still exciting, extensed chase sequence with a CGI
supernatural tramp flying around and relentlessly hunting everybody in
sight. No matter how I cut that, I must admit that it provided me with
some easy and fast paced entertainment. Echoing "Jeepers
Creepers", Darkness Falls delivered one badass action blowout in
a police station and anteed that up with some groovy monster on the loose
set pieces that varied in quality, but that kept my eyes and my smile on
had a blast when they used the whole “stay in the light” angle
properly as a tension device during the stalk scenes. The polished visual
wrapping in which they were coated also gave those bits the hammer in the
nads they needed. There’s nothing like a spooky horror mood to charm me
into the sack. I actually got
creeped out, I jumped at the right places (yes, that stupid cat got
me…I’m ashamed) and I wiggled in my seat like a toddler because I was
having such silly fun. Taking
into account that I had jack-all invested in the rushed storyline or the
two-legged props posing as characters, getting those reactions out of me
was an accomplishment of mammoth proportion and I prop Liebesman for
pulling that off.
the end, "Darkness Falls" flew high above all of its more mature
possibilities and skipped on its potential depth to become a hurried,
hollow, yet somewhat engaging, monster mash. Bummer that the
clever Toothfairy concept put out early on was also never truly
capitalized on throughout. I actually forgot that this movie was about an
evil Toothfairy twenty minutes in. It could’ve been Michael Jackson behind
that “porcelain” mask (was it?) and the narrative wouldn’t have been
hindered. Let’s knock some teeth out!
(Kyle) did what he could with his so-so dialogue and lack of character
exploration. The man had intensity and his talent almost compensated for
the “out of his hands” shortcomings. Given more to play with, he
could’ve rocked hardcore. Poor Emma Caulfield (Caitlin). She’s just
there with no fleshed-out part to support her. She also did what she
could. Lee Cormie (Michael) was decent as the sad looking kid that we
never really got to know. Grant Piro (Larry) annoyed the shite out of me,
but at the same time, made me laugh. NOTE: Most of the actors playing the
side characters were pretty lousy, to say the least.
All of the
kills here consisted of folks being pulled off-screen by the CGI dancing
queen. Result: Apart from some random blood, there was NATHING here to wet
things up. NOTE: The Stan Winston creature looked money for the 3 seconds
we saw its face, but they should’ve stuck with the initial and more
unique design instead of giving me more of the same thing.
a…naked tooth. BOING!
Jonathan Liebesman’s visual flair; he injected the film with the proper
spooky atmosphere. The flashy cuts, the slow motion, the red filters near
the end and the stylish shot compositions also came through. To me, the
prologue was quite a statement on Jonathan’s talent. It blew my jock
strap off. Jonathan has what it takes; now all he needs
to do is associate himself with the right people.
We get an
eerie and effective score by Brian Tyler. We also get a couple of
disposable pop/rocks songs.
Date: April 22, 2003
The full-screen and widescreen anamorphic images were both sharp and clear
especially in regards to the more somber scenes. I saw more of the film
and the creature here then I did on the big screen. Gotta love DVD!
The English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 were potent and hard hitting,
particularly when it came to the various sound effects and the slick
score. The sound quality made the experience a better one.
Commentary (feature length):
Director Jonathan Liebesman, writer James Vanderbilt and producers William
Sherak and Jason Shuman come in with their sense of humor in high gear. We
get lots of joking, an abundance of trivia about the shoot, the re-shoots,
specific scenes and cut out scenes. Jonathan points out the many homages
in the film (SIGNS- Kubrick) and I really loved the constant comments on
the mistakes in the film and about what went down behind the scenes. This
was a very funny, engaging and insightful commentary.
Commentary (feature length): Writers
Joe Fasano and Joe Harris also deliver their commentary in good humor.
They talk about where the initial Tooth Fairy horror concept came from and
how they met up and eventually pitched the idea to Revolution Studios.
They also point out the differences between their
script and the finished product, share their disappointments in
regards to what didn’t make it into the final cut and bring up the Tooth
Fairy rules that were initially set by them, but dropped in the film. This
commentary was also a fun listen with jokes and info hitting us left and
right. NOTE: Did you know that the young Caitlin is actually the cute
little girl from "Ghost Ship"? Now
We get 7 deleted scenes, most of which don't bring anything more to the
film. The only one that stuck with me was the one in which young Caitlin
gave her necklace to young Kyle in the opening. The necklace also
resurfaced later on in another deleted scene. They should’ve kept that
in; it reinforced their bond in a simple yet effective way. An okay
Legend of Mathilda Dixon (~
10 minutes): This
mockumentary relays Matilda’s backstory to us as well as her eventual
murder through reenactments of the events and fake testimonies from the
town folks. This little ditty was tightly produced and watchable for what
it was. Actually, if you’ve read the Darkness Falls novel adaptation,
you’ll know the story on display here. A decent feature.
making of Darkness Falls (~
17 minutes): This feature has
the cast (that little kid is adorable) and crew come in to talk about the
film, each other (praise) and their respective roles in the picture. We
get some engaging on-set footage, a look at the making of Stan Winston’s
Fairy creature and lots of insight from Jonathan Liebesman who talks about
his fears and his experience as a young, fresh filmmaker suddenly tossed
on to a high budget motion picture production. This
feature was very good from a fan and filmmaker wannabe point of view.
also get Storyboard Comparisons
of 3 scenes.
DVD definitely made me appreciate "Darkness Falls" more and
seeing everybody’s enthusiasm and hard work swayed me further on to
their side. The audio and video qualities were top notch and the extras
fulfilling. My only questions: where was the damn trailer and Joe
Harris’ Tooth Fairy short? COME ON! Overall,
this is a money DVD.
I believe that
there used to be a strong movie in here, but somebody made sure to chop the
substance out, "mainstream" and dumb it down to serve who they thought
was to be the target audience. I better get a Director’s Cut on the DVD or I’ll
pull all kinds of teeth out with a pair of pliers!
As is, "Darkness Falls" felt like a good looking patch job. The
attention to the story and the characters were criminally lacking and the
only things that I retained from it were the back-story, the hard hitting
prologue, a couple of kool chase sequences and the slick directing. I
feel bad for Jonathan, he obviously has a good eye and to have his
theatrical debut butchered like a bimbo in a slasher cannot feel good.
This drink’s on you bro...don’t give up the fight!
would love to get my hand on the original feature length screenplay by
John Fasano. If anybody has it in hand, slap it my way. I want to judge
this story for what it was, not for what the studio made of it.
film went through five titles: "The Tooth Fairy", "Don't
Peek", "Fear of the Dark", "The Tooth Fairy: The Ghost
of Matilda Dixon" and "The Tooth Fairy: Every Legend Has Its
the first cut of the film, the Toothfairy’s existence was only confirmed
in the end. The studio, loathing “ambition” hired Stan Winston and he
created a new Toothfairy monster that was inserted throughout the film via
original Toothfairy design was created by Steve Wang and you can see it
via McFarlane Toys’
my interview with director Jonathan Liebesman here
this movie on The Arrow's HORROR BOARD
back to the Arrow in the Head Homestead...
© 2003 John
Fallon All Rights Reserved JoBlo.com