Darkness Review

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An American family moves into their new home in Spain, only to discover that something is lurking in the darkness – a Satanic force that’s one blood sacrifice away from visiting apocalypse upon the world…


To paraphrase The Buggles, the Avid machine killed the horror movie star. This handy digital editing tool has made it so much easier for hack horror directors to insert false shocks and jumps into their middling efforts with the simple press of a button, rather than relying on their helming skills to create a suitably chilling atmosphere or craft their shocks with precision. For the first two-thirds of Darkness, director Jaume Balagueró becomes the latest victim of the Avid, jazzing up scares with a LOUD NOISE or a subliminal jump cut when all he has to do is rely on his genuinely disconcerting premise: that there is something in the dark. And it’s not friendly.

A fear of the dark is something that lurks within us all, and when Balagueró settles the camera down, he builds on that fear with some slick shots – a slow pullback reveals sinister shapes in the gloom, while later a man is swallowed up on the tube system by encroaching shadows – that establish a morbid mood. Despite a twist you can see coming a mile off, the final act is much more effective, with an ending that harks back to better horror flicks of the ’70s. By then, though, it’s the very definition of too little, too late.

Darkness has been hanging around for a couple of years, which is never a good sign, and so it proves. Back to horror school for you, Señor Balagueró.