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  • Darkness Falls

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 17th, 2003

    Overall
    Film
    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    (out of 5)

    

    Synopsis

    A woman, wrongly accused of killing children, is hanged and curses the town of DarknessFalls. Now she is the Tooth Fairy, vulnerable to light, but otherwise deadly. If you peak whenshe comes for your tooth, you’re toast. In what is the scariest scene of the film, young Kyle seesher and escapes with his life (though his mother doesn’t). Twelve years later, the young brotherof Kyle’s old crush Caitlin is similarly haunted. Kyle is drawn back to Darkness Falls, there toconfron… the Tooth Fairy (along with just about everybody else). Borrowing its structure fromThe Fog, Darkness Falls starts off promisingly, but its run-and-shoot-and-scream final actreduces it to same-old, same-old, and fritters away the atmosphere built up in the early goings.The similarly themed They is a bit more successful in this regard. The Tooth Fairy isn’t a badcreation, however, and there are enough jolts to make for a decent time at the flicks.

    Audio

    This is a film whose scare effects depend heavily on the soundtrack, and boy do they workwell here. Most impressive are the Tooth Fairy’s snarls. They travel around the room, volumerising and dropping, and you’d swear the creature is right at your neck. Beautifully done. Therest of the sound is just as good, with distortion-free dialogue (and a great rich tone on theopening narrator’s voice), powerful music, and great FX. The sense of environment is total, withechoes, water, crickets, wind, leaves and so on filling the room. The placement of each soundeffect is beyond reproach.

    Video

    Two different formats on offer: fullscreen and 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. With a ratiothat extreme, you’d have to be nuts to choose fullscreen. The flesh tones are good, the coloursare solid, and there are no edge enhancement halos. The contrasts and blacks, however, stop justshy of excellence. Though acceptable, the blacks aren’t always as solid as I would like, and thenumerous dark scenes don’t quite have the power they did theatrically.

    Special Features

    Unusual to find two commentaries on a low-budget film of this ilk, but that’s what we have.One is by director Jonathan Liebesman, producers Jason Shuman and William Sherak, and co-writer James Vanderbilt, and good luck telling one voice from another. There’s a lot of jokingaround, but still plenty of interesting info imparted. Commentary Two is by writers Joe Harssiand John Fasano (a few too many cooks for this broth), and once you get past the kidding around,you’ll learn quite a bit about the writing process on a film like this. There are two featurettes.One is the usual Making-of promo, but the other “The Legend of Matilda Dixon” is a fun bit ofBlair Witch-style pseudo-documentary. There are also 7 deleted scenes (what’s different aboutthe final confrontation scene is beyond me) and storyboard comparisons for three scenes. What,no trailer? The menu has a nicely atmospheric intro and main page (with full motion and score),while the other pages are silent and still.

    Closing Thoughts

    While in the nice-try-but-no-cigar category, the movie is still fun, and the extras are morethan I would have expected. Most impressive, however, is the soundtrack.

    Special Features List

    • 2 Audio Commentaries
    • Making-of Featurette
    • “Legend of Matilda Dixon” Featurette
    • Storyboard Comparisons
    • Deleted Scenes
    Posted In: 1.33:1 Fullscreen, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French), DVD, Horror, Sony Pictures, Special Edition

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