Friday, May 13, 2016

The Darkness [2013]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (1 Star)  AVClub ()  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review (P. Sobczynski) review
AVClub () review

The Darkness [2016] (directed and cowritten by Greg McLean along with Shayne Armstrong and Shane Krause) is a film that I
had more or less determined that I was NOT going to see.  Made by the people who made Insidious [2011] (not a selling point for me as I thought that movie was terrible ... both needlessly dark and low budgety in _not_ a good way ...) I was content to stay home from this one until I read Peter Sobczynski's still not exactly "stellar" review of the film for (above). From his review, the film started to seem like an update to a "in my time" already "cheesy" but at least not Evil "Brady Bunch" episode: 

In that old BB episode, the family went "on vacation" in Hawaii and one or another of the kids came across an "old pagan idol," took it "back to the hotel" with him and ... all sorts of strange things began to happen. 

Well, in the current film, a family (the dad played by Kevin Bacon, an actor of my generation, who like me would have been a kid when that old BB episode had played) goes "on vacation" to the Grand Canyon and while hiking, one of the kids falls into a cave where he finds five small idols left there by the Anasazi people (the Native Americans who built the towns in the Mesas of (relatively nearby) Mesa Verde Nat'l Park).  Of course, the kid puts the little idols in his backpack and takes them home with him (without telling anybody...) and ... all sorts of strange things start to happen.

I also looked at the film's rating -- PG-13 -- and wondered if it would end up being something like another recent PG-13 rated "scary movie" Mama [2013] which I actually quite liked.  And so ... more certain that the film was not going to scandalize me or otherwise waste my time, I went to see it.... and DID NOT LEAVE disappointed.

It's opening on a Friday the 13th Weekend and I would say that it's NOT an altogether bad "scary movie" to take the kids to.

And the screen family is no longer "perfect" like the Brady Bunch.  Pa' (played by Kevin Bacon) still an architect, is still dealing with the guilt / consequences of some marital infidelity _years before_.  Ma's (played by Radha Mitchell) still dealing with some lingering "trust issues" has also _more or less_ bested a previous drinking problem. Eyes often rolling "why can't our family be (completely) normal" teenage daughter Stephanie (played by Lucy Fry) is bulimic, and younger son Michael (played by David Mazouz) is autistic.  And into this plops an added quite random "horror" ... brought home "from vacation" ;-)

Then a surprise _prize_ in this film comes when the family, finally realizing that _something_ that's _really beyond_ them has entered into _their world_, decides to seek help, a previously spooked family friend sets them up with a NATIVE AMERICAN / HISPANIC (!) "curandera" named Teresa MORALES (played by Alma Martinez) and the curandera's teenage grand-daughter (Stephanie's age) Gloria (played by Ilza ROSARIO) who help then to exorcise the house. 

Obviously, I would have preferred that they call the Catholic priest and we'd bless the house (I've done plenty of those over the years and _know_ that such blessings _do_ indeed stop things from going "bump in the night").  Still, in my work, I have run into some of the supernatural of both the Caribbean and of the Desert here in North America and I found it kinda nice to see this (Native American) Hispanic "grandma and granddaughter team" helping to bring peace to this modern but then quite detached from their past American family that found itself in a situation that was quite beyond their normal capabilities.

So then, the film turned out to be a not altogether "bad" The Brady Bunch meets The Poltergeist with a South-Westy (Native American / Mexican / Hispanic) sort of feel at the end.

A pretty good job then!  Pretty good job! 

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