Darkness Rising Movie Review

Written by Nick Ferwerda

Released by IFC Midnight

Directed by Austin Reading
Written by Vikram Weet
2017, 81 minutes, Not Rated
Released on June 30th, 2017

Tara Holt as Madison
Katrina Law as Izzy
Bryce Johnson as Jake


In world with countless movies about possession and haunted houses, Darkness Rising tries to set itself apart from the rest.

After nearly getting murdered by her mother as a child, Madison returns to the house where her mother went mad to confront this trauma she wants so desperately to put in the past.

Recruiting her boyfriend, Jake, and cousin, Izzy, the three return to the childhood home the night before it is scheduled to be demolished.

Madison is convinced that her mother didn't just go crazy and something else was at fault for her madness. She wants to find out the truth. The trio quickly learns there is something more at work in this house when paranormal events start taking place from the moment they walk in the front door. With these events happening on the regular, this group of friends has got their work cut out for them.

Darkness Rising does not waste any time getting down to the action. From the moment they walk into this haunted house to the moment they leave, something is going on. It's very fast-paced to the point where it is hard to follow.

There is a lot at work in this flick. Just to list a few things, we have possession, haunted houses, killer dogs, a creepy child, and force fields. The list goes on. While a lot of horror fans like all of these things, do they really all need to be in the same movie? It makes for an overall confusing experience that would leave most asking themselves what just happened. Unless it adds to the story in a positive way or has a significant reason for being present, they are very unnecessary and just make for a forced feeling that at most will maybe give you a little jump scare. It seems like the filmmakers tried to hit a lot of different styles of horror but the problem is these usually don't work in the same movie. Instead of trying to use them all, they should have stuck to one or two elements. Doing so will usually create a better, more thought out story that will keep the audience engaged. That is something this movie struggles with; keeping the audience guessing until the end.

All of this could easily be looked past if the writing was good, but unfortunately Vikram Weet missed the mark. He told what could be easily shown and he showed what definitely needs a little bit more explanation. It's almost like he took three different screenplays mashed them together and said, "Hey, let's just make them all". The dialog is no better than the confusing storyline and lack of creativity. There are terrible one-liners that could be easily avoided and scenes that make what should be good characters look like bad people.

Aside from the writing and overall confusing story, this isn't a complete disaster. Tara Holt, Katrina Law and Bryan Johnson did good jobs with what was given. While their characters maybe aren't the best, they are able to humanize them in a way where you at least feel a little distraught when they run into danger.

Two other things to note would have to be the score and color. These two elements may be the saving grace of this film. Without these, this may not be worth your time, but luckily they were able to turn it around with dark, gritty colors and a suspenseful score that will keep you on edge.

Darkness Rising tries way too hard to be something it isn't by packing too much into a story that would be better kept simple. While it does set itself apart from the norm of possession movies, it's probably not in the way it aimed to do so. However, the actors are able to save the movie by humanizing one-dimensional characters and make it worth a watch.


Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover

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