Darkness (2002 film)
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|Directed by||Jaume Balagueró|
|Produced by||Julio Fernández|
|Written by||Jaume Balagueró,
Fernando de Felipe
|Music by||Carles Cases|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films
|October 3, 2002Sitges)
December 25, 2004
Darkness is a 2002 horror film directed by Jaume Balagueró about an American teenage girl who moves into a haunted house with her family in the Spanish countryside. The film stars Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Giancarlo Giannini and Fele Martínez.
The film premiered in Spain on October 3, 2002, and was released in theaters across the country eight days later on October 11, 2002. It was later sold to Miramax Films for American distribution, but ended up being put on hiatus for over a year; it was eventually released in theaters in an edited, PG-13-rated cut in the United States on December 25, 2004.
Forty years after an unfinished occult ritual resulted in the disappearance of six children, an American family has moved into a never-before inhabited house in Spain. The mother, Maria (Olin), wants to get the place in order, while the father, Mark (Glen), goes to work, and their children, teenager Regina (Paquin) and her younger brother Paul (Enquist), try to settle into their daily routines.
It helps that Mark's doctor-father, Albert Rua (Giannini) has furnished them with their residence and is nearby, especially when Mark begins to suffer from some mental breakdown attacks that periodically reoccur. Regina is not only worried about him, but also Paul who is now scared of the dark for the first time. The young boy has reason for that, however, as there seems to be some sort of supernatural force beneath his bed. Furthermore, there are instances when figures of children are seen standing in the shadow and darkness, watching the family.
As Paul becomes more scared and their father increasingly unstable, Regina eventually figures out it must have something to do with their home where the power is lost everyday. With the help of her new friend, Carlos (Martinez), the two eventually meet the man, Villalobos (Reixach), who designed the house, and learn that it was built for a supernatural ritual requiring the sacrifice of seven children (each sacrificed by "hands that love them") to coincide with an eclipse that only occurs every forty years. With the next one quickly approaching, and now armed with the knowledge that the earlier occult ritual needs one more death to be completed, Regina races to make sure that Paul is not the final victim.
Taking a shortcut through her grandfather Albert's house, Regina finds out that her grandfather is, in fact, a member of the cult which has been performing these satanic rituals. Her grandfather explains that in the ritual forty years ago, there actually were seven children in the original ritual, the seventh child being none other than Regina's father, Mark. Albert did not sacrifice his son because at the last minute he realized that he did not love Mark. Waiting 40 years he has brought Mark and his family to the house with the intention of making sure Mark is sacrificed during this eclipse by "hands that love him." Armed with this knowledge, Regina races back to her home to find her father in the midst of another nervous breakdown, choking on pills as the eclipse begins. Maria tries to perform a tracheotomy on him, but is unable to bring herself to make the cut. Regina volunteers to, but inadvertently causes his death. Since Regina genuinely loved Mark, the ritual is finally complete. The darkness then takes the form of Regina and Paul, convincing their mother to turn off the lights. The darkness kills Maria, and then takes the form of Regina's friend Carlos, who picks them up in his car. The real Carlos arrives at the house, only to be killed by the darkness. The movie ends with the fake Carlos driving Regina and Paul into a dark tunnel, where it is implied that the darkness kills Regina and Paul.
- Anna Paquin – Regina
- Lena Olin – Maria
- Iain Glen – Mark
- Giancarlo Giannini – Albert Rua
- Fele Martínez – Carlos
- Stephan Enquist – Paul
- Fermin Reixach – Villalobos
- David Martí – Man Sleeping on Bus (uncredited)
The film premiered in Spain on October 3, 2002, and was then given a wide release on October 11, 2002. It later was released in a number of European countries throughout 2003, and was then sold to Miramax Films, but was shelved for a year. It was eventually released in the United States through Miramax's Dimension Films branch on December 25, 2004. It was given an even later release in the United Kingdom in March 2005.
Darkness received extremely negative reviews from critics, currently holding a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 52 reviews. It is one of only eight films to ever receive "F" CinemaScore, indicating overwhelmingly popular dislike.
Despite many negative reviews and very little promotion, Darkness still did moderately well at the United States box office. It was released Christmas Day 2004, which was a Saturday. It was the seventh highest earner that weekend with $6.1 million (at $3,625 average per theater), earning over half of its budget over two days. The following week it dropped to tenth highest earner with $4.6 million. Darkness eventually earned $34.4 million worldwide, with a $10.6 million budget.