Darkness Rising Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Austin Reading
Written by Vikram Weet
2017, 81 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on November 7th, 2017
Tara Holt as Madison
Bryce Johnson as Jake
Katrina Law as Izzy
I got a case of the blues lately. I’m not sure what brought it on exactly, but it’s affecting my work. There was a time once that I couldn’t wait to bring out my knives against a motion picture turkey. Darkness Rising has left me apathetic. I don’t know if it’s because Halloween is over or maybe that last birthday got me feeling my age. Shit. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with this one. Honestly, this is one of the worst films I’ve seen in a while and yet, I am left feeling as uninspired as the filmmakers. Part of me wants to write them an open letter questioning so many of their production choices, yet most of me knows it just isn’t worth it. It’s not that the thing is poorly made because it is competently shot and it even has some nice acting here and there. One of the biggest problems comes via the script, which is true for a lot of movies, but this one smacks me in the face every time I try to think of nice things to say. I am halfway tempted to (and still might) quote some of the dumber lines of dialogue I’ve been subjected to before this piece is over.
The plot is recycled and overly familiar to just about anyone that has seen a horror movie before. Girl brings friends to an abandoned house the night before the place is torn down. Kids spend the night in said creepy house. Bad things happen to them once demonic ghost things show up and haunt their faces off. Blah, blah, blah. This time around, Maggie invites her cousin Izzy and boyfriend Jake to help her resolve some issues from her childhood home that resulted in a family massacre or something. She was only three at the time and doesn’t seem too fresh on the details, but they don’t really matter anyway. Cousin Izzy agrees to tag along so she can loot mom’s leather jacket…that she remembers seeing when she was also three years old. Luckily the jacket is still there, looks dynamite, and fits. Woohoo!
Izzy is protective but not particularly likeable. Boyfriend Jake is a therapist but offers little comfort to his girlfriend, and Maggie is just kind of annoying. When the demon things show up, they take over their human hosts but don’t really do anything. Speaking of not doing anything – Ted Raimi shows up in a bookending scene that I think may have been shot for a different movie. Nothing against good old Ted, but Christ, this thing is sloppy. What a waste of a Raimi. I feel like I am jumping around a lot here, but I am really trying to reclaim that zeal for shit-canning a bad flick that shouldn’t be elusive. Back to the script for a moment; soft plot aside, there is a profound problem with dialogue here. At least three conversations consist entirely of people saying the exact same sentences multiple times in the exact same manner.
Maggie: I think she’s dead. I think she’s dead. I think she’s dead. Is she dead?
Jake: What’s happening? What’s happening? What’s happening? No, she’s not dead. She’s not dead.
I can’t put my finger on why this particular film has gotten so under my skin since I have watched and enjoyed plenty of bad cinema over my lifetime. This one is just bad in an irredeemable manner that pisses me off for the time I wasted watching it (twice). I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something and maybe – if I’m being honest – I may have fallen asleep during the first pass. Nope. I missed nothing. The second time through was more depressing than the first because I knew what disappointments awaited me. I won’t say this film broke me in any way, it just made it really difficult for me to review it without feeling apathetic about the whole experience. It took away my fun and I feel cheated. Maybe I need a vacation or maybe it’s time to take a break for a minute. Either way if you take nothing else from this extended rambling session, hear this: avoid Darkness Rising. It sucks.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the picture receives a strong transfer. Black levels are solid and colors appear natural throughout.
Both a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix are better than the film they carry. There are plenty of jump scares and thunderous crashes throughout, but not a lot of rumble from the sub-woofer.
Optional English and Spanish subtitles are included for anyone in need.
The theatrical trailer is all we get. This may be a blessing. (Parting shot).