'The Darkness' (Blu-ray + Digital HD)
(Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, Lucy Fry, David Mazouz, Ming-Na Wen, et al / Blu ray+DVD+Digital HD / PG-13 / 2016 / Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Overview: When their young son (David Mazouz, TV's Gotham) brings home five mystical stones he found on their family's camping trip to the Grand Canyon, Peter (Bacon) and Bronny (Mitchell) begin to notice strange things happening in their house. Having awakened dark forces bound to the rocks, the family fights for survival as malicious demons feed off their fears and threaten to destroy them.
Blu ray Verdict: Quite literally, if 'The Darkness' had been announced as an 'Insidious' remake I would have believed it. There are so many things that are identical between the two films. The good news for them is that 'Insidious' is freaking amazing so watching a similar story done nearly as well is worthy and was entertaining. It wasn't nearly as creepy and it did feel very cliché, but it was still solidly entertaining.
The cast was very good and the story was well written. Essentially if you liked Insidious or even the plethora of similar "Amityville Family gets haunted" style PG-13 horror like 'Sinister', 'The Conjuring', 'Possession' and so on then you will really enjoy 'The Darkness'. Literally the only thing stopping me from recommending this to everyone is the fact that it is clichéd and recycled in a lot of ways.
Even the name itself, 'The Darkness', it seems almost too stereotypical. It also lacks a truly great scary scene. There were certain moments in any good horror film that just get under your skin and 'The Darkness' is lacking that "moment."
The cast is very solid as I mentioned. Kevin Bacon fills the father role very nicely. Perhaps the script doesn't give him as much to work with as he could have but certainly his chemistry on screen and star power is enough to drive the film. Not to mention the fact how damn good this guy looks at FIFTY-EIGHT years old. he is actually believable as a middle-aged-ish guy with younger kids. He's also believable with Radha Mitchell who plays his wife and 15 years his junior.
I've always liked Mitchell, especially in 'Silent Hill'. I think she has a certain look that fits the tough scream queen image. She is a little underused in this film but she still plays the Mom role nicely. Much like Bacon though she is underdeveloped as a character. David Mazouz who was excellent on Fox's Touch plays a similar character here as an autistic boy haunted by ghosts. He obviously plays it well and it's a subtle role but very good for the type of character he is. Lucy Fry is also very good as the daughter of the family.
Director Greg Mclean was behind the brilliant horror film and it's even more brilliant sequel, 'Wolf Creek' so I know he has the eye for horror. He certainly sets a tone here and the film is very dark and creepy and commanding. I think it just lacks polish in some areas and it struggles to differentiate itself as we mentioned. It feels like the script was left over bits from stronger stories. Nonetheless, I'm not bashing the film. I liked it a lot. It definitely has it's moments and well worth the time. It just won't be as memorable as the other aforementioned titles. [RW] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:
Digital Copy of "The Darkness'