Darkness Falls (2003) Movie Review
Written By: LFG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Producers: John Fasano, John Hegeman, William Sherak, Jason Shuman
Writers: Joe Harris, James Vanderbilt, John Fasano
Date Released: January 24, 2003
Chaney Kley as Kyle Walsh
Joshua Anderson as Young Kyle Walsh
Jacob Worrall as Body double for Young Kyle Walsh
Emma Caulfield as Caitlin Greene
Emily Browning as Young Caitlin Greene
Lee Cormie as Michael Greene
Grant Piro as Larry Fleishman
John Stanton as Captain Thomas Henry
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Sometime in the 19th century, an elderly woman named Matilda Dixon (Antony Burrows) popularly known in the town of Darkness Falls as the Tooth Fairy was hanged wrongfully after she was accused of kidnapping children, who turned out to be alive and well all this time. Before she died, she vowed to seek revenge on everyone in Darkness Falls by cursing them, including their descendants by killing any child who would look at her face on the night she would come get their last baby tooth. More than a century later, Kyle Walsh (Chaney Kley) witnesses his mother get killed by the Tooth Fairy on the same night he lost his baby tooth. Now an adult, he returns to Darkness Falls after his childhood friend Caitlin (Emma Caulfield) seeks his help for her brother Michael (Lee Cormie), who is being haunted by the Tooth Fairy after recently losing his last baby tooth. Together, they must find a way to end the curse brought by the Tooth Fairy once and for all.
There is hardly any gore in this film, but there is a number of frightening and violent scenes. However, these scenes may be considered tame to some, except for the opening scene which is the scariest sequence throughout the entire movie.
The Grave Review
Darkness Falls (2003) has an all-too-familiar premise that would appeal to the general audience as everyone believed in the concept of the Tooth Fairy at some point in their lives. However, what makes this plot different is that Matilda is not exactly the fantasy-figure Tooth Fairy that we know of. The Tooth Fairy is not normally portrayed as a scary, porcelain mask-wearing ghost, so it would be interesting to see how this version would play out.
The opening sequence of the film where a narrator was talking about the background of Matilda, a.k.a. the Tooth Fairy, gave the film an excellent head start on the horror that’s about to come, especially since the Victorian period aesthetic was used. This is always effective in conveying the creep factor even if they only showed a series of photos depicting that era.
The film did not have the best set of characters, but the main protagonist Kyle was likeable and relatable enough. He is depicted as a troubled young man, who after seeing his mother die right in front of him, was then immediately accused for her death. His former neighbors believed he was a murderer and he couldn’t prove that otherwise since no one would believe what happened the night his mother died. And that is enough to get viewers to feel bad for him. Another interesting character was Michael (Lee Cormie). Like Kyle, he is also tormented by the Tooth Fairy, but what makes him different is the fact that he is a kid who tried to kill himself just to he could escape the horror brought about by the Tooth Fairy. Watching the bathroom scene with his bloodied hand was both sad and disturbing.
The plot also addresses the concept of nyctophobia or fear of the dark. The Tooth Fairy only attacks in the dark due to her sensitivity to light, and while this is a derivative concept that has been reused over and over again, it was still fairly enjoyable to watch Kyle and the rest of the characters shuffle around in the dark with their flashlights, while being attacked one by one before Kyle eventually defeated the Tooth Fairy by shining the lighthouse to her face.
Additionally, one major plot hole I would like to point out is how did the adults survive their childhood, considering Matilda vowed to seek revenge to everyone in Darkness Falls. Did she really appear to every kid who lost their last baby tooth as implied in the film? It was mentioned that there were a lot of unsolved missing person cases in the town, but it seemed like it was not something that bothered the town as much—everything felt normal, and they only seem to single out Kyle.
Overall, there is a lot of cliché to this film from start to finish, and the plot as well as the execution feels mediocre. Nevertheless, it packed enough jump scares that would still make it an enjoyable watch perhaps on a dark rainy night at home.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Darkness Falls (2003) two graves out of five graves.
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