The Darkness (Blu-ray)

September 14, 2016 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

I was randomly thinking (as I often do) what has Kevin Bacon been up to lately. It just feels like I haven’t seen much from him lately. Apparently he feels the need to star in second rate horror films, but to each their own. It’s not that this is a particularly bad film. It’s just so blatantly derivative and relies on loud jump scares to get the job done. It gets old pretty fast. A family trip to the Grand Canyon leaves an autistic boy acting strangely. Mikey (David Mazouz) falls into a hole in the ground while he’s walking with his sister and a friend. Upon their return home, Mikey starts displaying aggressive behavior, and sees strange things. He also spits out blood and the house is covered in some sort of black smoke at times. Kevin Bacon plays the father, Peter Taylor. His wife Bronny (Radha Mitchell) and he argue about their son and the way he’s acting, but they both agree something is off. It doesn’t take long for Bronny to suspect there’s some connection to another dimension.

What’s frustrating about the film is that it actually begins promisingly enough. It doesn’t take long, however, for it to go downhill. I would’ve much preferred the setting remain in the Grand Canyon as that’s nearly perfect for horror movie material. We only spend the first few moments of the film there before the family returns home. The film might’ve been more effective had it at least tried for subtlety, but the reliance on loud music at nearly every turn gets old after a while. It doesn’t help that the whole “kids acting strange” angle has been so played out. The film really has nothing new to say. At least I can say it goes by rather quickly. I was a bit surprised when an hour had passed. It’s certainly faint praise when you’re excited that a film you don’t care for is closer to being over, but it is well paced. While I’m usually a fan of Kevin Bacon, he just looks bored here. Maybe he realized halfway through production that he was staring in a dud? Who knows? Either way you shake it, there’s just little here worth endorsing.

Video: How’s it look?

I will say that the film does look quite nice in HD. From the opening moments in the Grand Canyon, I knew the film would at least satisfy in that regard. As the family returns from their vacation, the image remains strong throughout with clear details on all fronts. The print shows no flaws or other issues. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track is also pleasing. Now, I didn’t like the film’s decision to rely on loud music to help drive home the scares, but at least it’s well done. As far as the DTS track is concerned. Vocals are also clear and natural sounding as well. The bass and rear channels get plenty of usage as well. You can rest assured that your system will stay busy during this film. I’d keep the remote handy to adjust the volume as it varies a good deal over the course of the film.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Alternate Ending – The front of the Blu-ray case exclaims “Shocking Alternate Ending!” While I wasn’t so shocked (as I rarely am with alternate endings – they’re usually not that different), it’s nice to have this included.
  • Deleted Scenes – A series of deleted scenes are shown as well, though none really offered anything to the film.

The Bottom Line

It begins with promise, but quickly goes downhill after that. It’s not so much a bad film as one that’s full of clichés. I would’ve liked at least a more subtle approach as the reliance on loud noises gets old fast. The film at least moves by at a nice pace, but that’s the most I can say for it. The disc looks and sounds fantastic, but the film is lousy. Skip it.

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