Darkness Fallsis a horror film starring Emma Caulfeild that was released in early 2003 . Darkness Falls somehow has a prequel comic that was released around the same time as the film a novelization was also released. While the film fared well enough, recouping its 11 million dollar budget its opening weekend. I have a strange feeling that the film didn’t perform as well as the film makers had intended.
The film starts as we learn about Matilda Dixon also known as the ‘Tooth Fairy” to the townsfolk due to her habit of giving coins to children who had lost a tooth prior to her death. Matilda Dixon a woman is executed by the town folk after being wrongfully accused of a crime involving missing children. After her death her spirit continues to visit the children of the town of Darkness Falls when they lose their last tooth if she’s seen during her visit she kills those that have done so. Also she was burned so she’s sensitive to light and had to were a porcelain mask when ever she went out, this continues after she’s a ghost. Why her ghost is affected like this and continues to wear the mask I have no idea but does create an interesting looking antagonist for our heroes. The story starts many generations later as young Kyle Walsh loses his last tooth. He and his mother both see the Tooth Fairy. The Fairy kills his mother but Kyle lives and sent to mental institution because no one believes his story. Many years later… once again Kyles old flame Caitlin Greens (played by Emma Caulfeild) son Micheal (played by Lee Cormie) sees the Tooth Fairy as well. She contacts Kyle (played by Chaney Kley) who is now an adult living in Vegas always in the light. Kyle spends most of his time trying to warn people but no one believes him and finally he’s locked away by the police after being suspected of a murder. While locked up a lighting storm causes a black out and the Tooth Fairy comes after him. Kyle realizes the Tooth Fairy will also go for Micheal he escapes during the Tooth Fairys attack races the hospital gathering up a group along the way. They rest of the film is the Tooth Fairy killing them off until the climatic fight that takes place inside the towns light house.
Darkness Falls does have a number things going for it. First of all it has Emma Caulfeild in a starring role sadly as far as I know Darkness Falls is her only horror credit which is kind of upsetting. I think Emma Caulfeild would have made a superb scream queen. The film also has a strong oppressive atmosphere going for it. This is due fundamentally to the films antagonist The Tooth Fairy being harmed by bright light and must remain in the shadows. The whole film is shot with the heavy use of shadows and dark places. The use of light to combat her creates fights that carry a decent amount of tension. The characters are all likable making you care about what happens to them.
Darkness Falls has a short run times 86 minutes 11 of which are the final credits. The reason being due to the final cut of the film being to short for a theatrical release. However when Darkness Falls aired on the FX network “DVD on TV” it included extra scenes that weren’t even included the deleted scenes on the DVD. So if the film makers had all this extra footage lying around why did they drag out the credits in the theatrical release over strengthening the film its self? Conversely if they felt the extra footage wasn’t good enough then why add it back in just for the FX network?
Another problem I have is the film is it has not one but two prologues. The first explaining who the Toothy Fairy is and why she kills the towns children. Destroying the mystery of the antagonist from right out of the gate. I’ve always felt that monsters in film are always scarier when we see and know less about them initially but come to learn more as the story unfolds. The next scene is when the main characters are children laying the ground work for the rest the film.
Darkness Falls also borrows heavily from others films within the genre. The origin of the Tooth Fairy is striking similar to that of Freddy from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Both are murdered by the parents of the town and both enact their revenge on the towns children. When Micheal is locked away by the police if feels strangely similar to Friday the 13th part 6: Jason Lives when Tommy Jarvis is trying to warn the police but they lock him up instead. I expect the police to tell Micheal that the towns called Forest Green now not Crystal Lake. Even the Tooth Fairys weakness to light is like that of the Gremlins from the film of the same name.
While Darkness Falls is bad, to me its the good kind of bad. I like the characters, the actors did a great job with what they had to work with Emma Caulfeild in particular does an amazing job. The film does make good use of what screen time it has moving quickly and doesn’t take its time to long on any one scene. All said and done I give Darkness Falls 7/10 worth a watching when you feel like watching when you don’t have much time to commit to a horror film.