Darkness Falls is part of a long line of B-grade skrik films. These movies generally have only one ambition - to make you jump out of your skin a few times. They tend to measure their success by the height to which the popcorn rises when people leap out of their seats in fright. And the popcorn should be rising pretty high with this one.
Originally entitled The Tooth Fairy (no guesses why they changed that one), the film creates its own mythology. In the town of Darkness Falls, the legend reads, a kindly but horribly disfigured old widow was lynched for a crime that she didn't commit.
Since then her malevolent spirit has haunted the town's children, coming to visit them on the night they lose their last milk teeth. This evil Tooth Fairy kills anyone who sees her face. Anyone that escapes her clutches will be relentlessly hounded until she can finish them off.
On the night that 12-year-old Kyle loses his last tooth, he disobeys his mother and peeps at the Fairy. Somehow he manages to escape from her, but his mother does not. Twelve years later Kyle must return to his hometown and help to save another young boy who has escaped from the Fairy's clutches and, in doing so, free himself from her curse.
On the face of it Darkness Falls is a silly and totally derivative movie with almost nothing new to offer to its genre. The acting is terrible, the dialogue is uniformly appalling and the plot is riddled with holes the size of commercial aircraft.
That said, the film successfully accomplishes its main aim- it makes you jump. To do this it employs every trick in the horror movie book. Superbly creepy sound effects and some creative use of light and shadow make for a very eerie atmosphere. Careful shot framing and pacing keeps the suspense ticking along.
But even with every bell and whistle thrown in (special effects were handled by the legendary Stan Winston) the film fails to rise above its B-grade parentage. It may make you jump - but then so do a hundred other films.
So if you feel like a good old-fashioned popcorn-elevating shriek then Darkness Falls is your movie. Just don't expect The Blair Witch Project.
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