Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
3 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:
Elizabeth Berkley as Trudy
Daveigh Chase as Samantha Darko
Matthew Davis as Pastor John
Briana Evigan as Corey
John Hawkes as Phil
Zulay Henao as Baelyn
James Lafferty as Iraq Jack
Bob Lanoue as F.B.I. Agent
Kristina Malota as Susie Bates
Marina Malota as Emily Bates
Jackson Rathbone as Jeremy
Bret Roberts as Officer O' Dell
Nathan Stevens as Jeff
Barbara Tarbuck as Agatha
Ryan Templeman as Mike
Ed Westwick as Randy

Special Features:
- Commentary with Director Chris Fisher, Writer Nathan Atkins, and Cinematographer Marvin V. Rush
- Deleted Scenes
- The Making of "S. Darko"
- Utah Too Much
- S. Darko Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 101 Minutes

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Seven years after her brother's death, Samantha Darko finds herself stranded in a small desert town after her car breaks down where she is plagued by bizarre visions telling of the universe's end. As a result, she must face her own demons, and in doing so, save the world and herself. "

"S. Darko" is rated R for language, some violent content and brief drug use.

Mini-Review:
They did a couple of things right with "S. Darko." The idea of continuing to follow Donnie's younger sister was a good move. Bringing Daveigh Chase back as Samantha Darko was also another good move. But that's about where it ended.

A sequel should really build on its predecessor and "S. Darko" does not do that at all. You don't get more insight into the time travel phenomenon, the dead people that re-appear, how the world is saved, or anything else. Instead, the script replicates the exact same twists and turns of the first movie. Not only that, they copy the twist ending TWICE. There was nothing innovative about the script.

And the parts that don't copy the first movie are quite dull. You're treated to a lot of long, sleepy scenes of local scenery and mopey teens. You can watch a lot of this film in fast forward and miss absolutely nothing. Further dragging the movie down is a bad, stereotypical, crazy Christian pastor that is irrelevant to the plot. That also goes for his Jesus-freak follower played by Elizabeth Berkley. I guess you can't accuse them of type-casting.

I think "S. Darko" will disappoint many "Donnie Darko" fans and it's certainly not a place for people unfamiliar with the series to jump on board. I wanted to get into but I just couldn't.

A few bonus features are included. There's a commentary (with none of the cast), a 'making of' featurette', and deleted scenes. "Utah Too Much" is a video about a song the crew made about Utah. It comes across as a bit condescending, especially since the Hollywood types don't really have anything nice to say about the place (unless "it is what it is" counts as a compliment). The deleted scenes reveal that the terrible preacher character in the film was actually toned down. He's even worse here.

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