HOLLYWOOD—If you’re looking for a great scare this summer, you might want to wait till June 10 when the second installment of “The Conjuring,” “The Conjuring 2” arrives. For those venturing to check out the horror flick, “The Darkness” you have been warned it’s not as scary as one would expect.
The flick stars Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell, as Peter and Bronny Taylor who take their kids Mikey (David Mazouz) and Stephanie (Lucy Fry) on a trip to the Grand Canyon with a few of their pals. The trip seems all smiles and fun, until a friend of the family decides to venture into territories unknown, which peaks the interest of Mikey, who happens to suffer from autism.
As with most horror flicks, the innocence of a child plays greatly here, as Mikey falls into a cave while attempting to retrieve a watch. During his exploration, he finds a bunch of black rocks with symbols written on them. Mikey not aware of the danger lurking places the rocks into his backpack and keeps them secret from his family.
“The Darkness” then plays on the typical horror troupes before building to its climax that isn’t as compelling or riveting as one would suspect. The family returns home and a bunch of odd things begin to take place. We get visuals of ghostly or demonic presences, Mikey starts to exhibit strange behaviors, eerie sounds leave the family unnerved and it even results in Bronny (Mitchell) realizing that all is not as it seems.
The frustrating aspect of this movie is that it has potential, but it drags a bit too much in my opinion, so much to the point that as a viewer you want to be invested in the narrative and characters, but things fall flat and quite short. At times I even felt the movie was hoping to capture that formulaic motif that was utilized in the 1982 classic “Poltergeist,” but it doesn’t even come close to as riveting and intriguing as that movie.
I will give the movie points for attempting to throw as many gotcha and ‘scare’ moments at the audience as possible; the result is not as effective as one would hope. I’ve said this time and time again, when it comes to horror: suspense is everything. If you’re going to have a big buildup, the payoff has to be worthwhile. Even more important, the audience can’t expect the expected. That fault can be pointed at the director Greg McLean who may have missed the point that the right positioning of the camera for an epic scare means everything.
If you venture into “The Darkness” you’ve been warned that you won’t leave the theater unnerved, if anything you might leave annoyed with the time that you just wasted, not to mention the money you won’t be able to get back.