Darkness Falls

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Darkness Falls

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Darkness Falls

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In the sleepy coastal burg of Darkness Falls, where common sense and reliable light sources are in shorter supply than irony, a 150-year-old witch called "The Tooth Fairy" lives up to her suburban legend, vowing to eviscerate the town's children after they lose their final baby teeth. However, her eternal vengeance comes with two major caveats: 1) Her gnarled face is light-sensitive, so she can only attack in the dark. 2) No statute of limitation applies, meaning she will forever haunt anyone who lays eyes on her, including any sleazy lawyers, barflies, and other poor saps who just happen to get in the way. The sole children spared, apparently, are the ones who don't "peek" when the fairy swoops by, but even the heaviest sleepers would have trouble snoring through all the racket she makes—a high-pitched, geriatric symphony of wheezing, creaking, and groaning. If logic prevailed for a second in Darkness Falls (at an emaciated 75 minutes, including two prologues, maybe time didn't allow for it), the town would be inhabited entirely by narcoleptics and deaf people. As it is, only the giant box marked "Unsolved Cases" in the police file indicates that Darkness Falls has experienced an unusually high number of pre-teen slashings. With an arsenal of flashlights and anti-psychotics in tow, Chaney Kley returns home for the first time since a Tooth Fairy visit 12 years ago led authorities to believe he was responsible for his mother's death. Out of concern for younger brother Lee Cormie, whose recent bouts with the fiend have landed him in a psych ward, Kley's old childhood sweetheart Emma Caulfield beckons Kley to help them out. (The mush-mouthed kid, speaking in the barely intelligible language of moppet-ese, is hardly worth the trouble.) But when the underlit town experiences a fresh round of killings, the police naturally cast their suspicions on Kley. Powered by dim bulbs on both sides of the camera, Darkness Falls barrels ahead with unrelenting stupidity, forsaking many of its own rules in search of the next cheap shock. The Tooth Fairy, for one, isn't bound by any constraints: She has a physical presence, yet she can slip through walls; she bridges distances by flying, yet she can materialize whenever she wants; and she resides in Darkness Falls, yet she can take her act out of town. With that kind of mobility and speed, it's surprising that she hasn't claimed more victims, especially in a city where doctors place a kid with "night terrors" in a sensory-deprivation chamber and cops close the book on one unsolved child murder after another. Short of putting buzzers under the seats, director Jonathan Liebesman will do anything for a shock, culminating in a riotous scene, set in a lighthouse (irony!) during a blackout (double irony!), that finds the heroes hopscotching from one shaft of light to another. Any specter that can't survive these characters has only herself to blame.

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