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Rating: Unrated

Anna Paquin as Regina
Lena Olin as Maria
Iain Glen as Mark
Giancarlo Giannini as Albert Rua
Fele Martínez as Carlos
Stephan Enquist as Paul
Fermí Reixach as Villalobos
Francesc Pagés as Driver Traffic Jam
Craig Stevenson as Electrician

Special Features:
Darkness Illuminated: Behind the Scenes of Darkness

Theatrical Trailer


Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 102 Minutes

This film was originally released in Spain in 2002. The following is from the DVD cover:

“This extended unrated version of the hit thriller Darkness teams award winner Anna Paquin (X-Men) with Lena Olin (Hollywood Homicide, Chocolate) and Iain Glen (Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) as a family whose life forever changes when they move into a new home with an ancient secret! Not long after Regina (Paquin) begins living in her family’s remote country estate, she learns that there’s something horribly disturbing about the old place. Even as her parents dismiss her concerns, strange things begin to happen whenever the lights go out. Soon Regina realizes that a series of escalating supernatural events will unleash the full evil that resides in their house…and once its released you’ll experience it like never before in this scarier, more shocking unrated version!”

The Movie:
Darkness reminded me a lot of The Shining. Both stories took place in remote locations. Both featured old buildings haunted by the supernatural. Both films had a family member go nuts and terrorize the family. Unfortunately, Darkness suffers from predictability. It’s pretty easy to figure out what’s going to happen and why early on. The only question remains as to who will live and who will die by the end. The answer to that may surprise you, but it’s the only real surprise in the film.

If you like horror films, you’ll probably enjoy Darkness. It resorts to good old fashioned scares and primal fears rather than gore or excessive blood in order to unsettle audiences. The movie manages to generate some good creepy moments, but unfortunately they are repeated over enough times that they kind of lose their effectiveness (for example, silhouettes rapidly crossing through doorways over and over).

If you’re a fan of Anna Paquin then you’ll probably enjoy this movie. She’s the main character of the film and most of the events are seen through her eyes. Unfortunately much of the film consists of her trying to convince her otherwise rational parents that something is wrong in the house. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, her mother refuses to believe that there is anything weird going on in the house. It gets a bit frustrating. Paquin’s mother is played by Lena Olin. Except for the annoying disbelief in her character, it’s an otherwise good role for Olin. The rest of the cast are also pretty good. Iain Glen makes a good psychotic father as Mark. Giancarlo Giannini is creepy as the mysterious grandfather Albert Rua. Fele Martínez is the faithful boyfriend Carlos who guides Paquin through the mystery. Finally there’s Stephan Enquist who plays the creepy / cute little brother Paul.

Despite the predictable story and the repetitive scares, director Jaume Balaguero does a great job creating a spooky atmosphere. The cinematography on the film is quite beautiful. It made me want to see what this director could do with a better script.

If you’re a fan of horror looking for something a little different or if you’re an Anna Paquin fan, then you’ll want to check out Darkness. It’s a familiar story wrapped in a slightly different package. Just don’t expect a feel good ending.

The Extras:
There is one behind the scenes featurette included on this DVD called “Darkness Illuminated”. It’s your standard “making of” feature showing cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes footage, and more. The director is shown dubbed with an English voice. It doesn’t reveal a whole lot of insight into the story or the production, though. It’s mostly the stars saying how creepy it is.

The Bottom Line:
Darkness features some great cinematography and a good cast, but the story is a little too predictable to make it rise above mediocrity.