Directed by Jonathan Liebesman [Other horror films: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), The Killing Room (2009)]
This strikes me as an utterly fruitless and unenjoyable film to watch, and only if one has nostalgic connections to this one could I see Darkness Falls being a movie one would willingly go back to.
The story behind Matilda Dixon is sort of cool (and reminds me, though it came out many years later, of Dead Silence), but everything else seemed very, very hollow, and honestly, I felt like little happened despite the film being eighty minutes or so long. At times, I was reminded of better movies such as Fear of the Dark (also from 2003), and some worse movies, like Alone in the Dark (2005), or They (2002) but the point is that this story, while possessing potential, felt utterly wasted.
Almost all of the performances here weren’t up to par for what I’d hope to see. Chaney Kley was terribly weak as the star, which could probably be explained by the fact that he didn’t really do that much before taking this role. It doesn’t help that his character didn’t seem fleshed out at all (which is true for most of these characters). Kley died at 34 years old back in 2007, which is a shame, as maybe he had improved past this point. I know that Lee Cormie was just a kid here, but his acting too is rather pitiful. Grant Piro’s character seemed good for nothing but extraordinarily weak comedic relief, and while not bad, Emma Caulfield didn’t much shine in this one either.
It’s somewhat hard to pinpoint exactly why not only I just don’t like this, but rather hate it. It felt far too tepid, too tame, and too shallow, with bad, Hollywood scares and a very bad story. The movie’s made worse by the fact that other movies from around the same time were so much better (Jeepers Creepers in 2001, which had a much better police headquarters take-down, or the aforementioned Fear of the Dark).
I don’t remember particularly caring for this one when I first saw it, but I also don’t remember disliking it as much as I do now. If you’ve a nostalgic connection to this shallow film, then perhaps it works out for you, but as for me, I found Darkness Falls a deeply tedious and tepid mess.