The universe and mythology created by Richard Kelly in the first DONNIE DARKO was so rich and distinctive that the mysteries of it were barely touched upon in the film. And as well as the original stood on its own, a follow up definitely had plenty of room to explore and the opportunity to do something special to set itself apart. This is where the horribly titled S. DARKO fails most. By the end it feels like an utter and complete rehash of DONNIE DARKO, but muddled, unfocused and less entertaining. They literally took all the “cool” stuff on the surface of the first film—the liquid force fields, the chest vessels, the talk of Armageddon, the wormholes—and just threw it haphazardly in to a story not that interesting to begin with.
Daveigh Chase from the original film (and also the evil little girl in THE RING) returns to the title role. And while she’s grown up in to a disturbingly beautiful young woman, she isn’t given much of anything to do here. In fact she straight up disappears from the movie named after her in one of the film’s worst and most pointless tangential subplots. Aside from Chase nobody else from the first movie shows up, but you do get “Saved By The Bell” alum Elizabeth Berkeley and a guy from “Gossip Girl!”
Though the cast can’t really be blamed for one of the weakest screenplays I can remember, even by straight to video standards. The first film was understandably vague and cryptic, but here the characters spout gibberish for a couple hours, stuff about life and death that they hope is meaningful but comes across as a convoluted, painful mess. You also get touching lines like “What do you think God’s farts taste like?” Director Chris Fisher tries desperately to ape Kelly’s style, from tilting camera angles to slow motion to 80s pop songs, and although the film does look fairly expensive given its small budget, it’s again just a watered down version of its predecessor.
The Making of S. DARKO: Like the commentary, the entire cast and crew just try to defend the project. And you know it’s a bad sign when the director says DONNIE DARKO is not Richard Kelly’s movie, but the fans’ movie.
Utah Too Much: The actors and crew talk about filming in Utah, including a song they wrote about the state.
Deleted Scenes: Six, including an alternate opening, none of which helped the movie make any more sense. There’s mainly more of the preacher, whose subplot was and remains pointless.
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Extra Tidbit: Richard Kelly has rightfully disowned this movie.