Darkness Falls (2003 film)

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Darkness Falls
Darkness Falls movie.jpg
Theatrical Release poster
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman
Produced by John Fasano
John Hegeman
William Sherak
Jason Shuman
Screenplay by Joe Harris
James Vanderbilt
John Fasano
Story by Joe Harris
Starring Chaney Kley
Emma Caulfield
Music by Paul Andrews
Brian Tyler
Cinematography Dan Laustsen
Edited by Timothy Alverson
Steve Mirkovich
Revolution Studios
Distant Corners
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • January 24, 2003 (2003-01-24)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million[1]
Box office $47.5 million[2]

Darkness Falls is a 2003 American-Australian supernatural horror film written by Joe Harris and John Fasano and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. The film stars Chaney Kley and Emma Caulfield.


The events of the film take place in the town of Darkness Falls, which is based on the town of Fall River, Massachusetts. It begins with the legend of a widow, Matilda Dixon, who was adored by all the town's children. Matilda gave them gifts and gold coins when they lost a tooth, thus earning her the name "Tooth Fairy".

After a fire in her home left her horribly disfigured and extremely sensitive to light, she wore a white porcelain mask, only going out at night.

Although the children adored Matilda, the adults were suspicious of her and one day, when two children went missing, the townspeople quickly blamed Matilda. In their anger and paranoia, they hanged her, ripping off her porcelain mask and exposing her face to the light. Out of despair and betrayal, Matilda, with her dying breath, swore vengeance upon the town. Soon afterward, the two missing children returned home unharmed. The town, realizing their mistake, quickly buried Matilda's body along with their shameful secret.

The story of Matilda Dixon, the Tooth Fairy, is told for many generations after her violent murder. Legend has it that her dark spirit visits children on the night they lose their last baby tooth. However, should any person see her when she visits, they become cursed and marked for her deadly vengeance for the rest of their life—assuming they even survive their first encounter.

The story begins when Kyle Walsh, an antisocial teenager, befriended only by his secret crush, Caitlin Greene, loses his last baby tooth. That night he soon realizes the story of Matilda Dixon is not just a fable when he sees her in his bedroom. Matilda is now a vindictive spirit dressed in black robes and a white porcelain mask. Knowing that light is her weakness, he shines a flashlight into her face and hides in the bright lights of the bathroom. His mother, trying to convince him there's nothing in his room, is killed after seeing the Tooth Fairy. The next morning, as the police arrive, Kyle is taken to a mental hospital after mistaken speculations that he killed his mother.

Twelve years later, Caitlin Greene calls a secluded Kyle to ask for his help with her younger brother, Michael, who refuses to sleep in the dark. Kyle is still living in haunt and paranoia of that night, having dozens of flashlights in his home, several prescription medications for anxiety and depression, and drawings of The Tooth Fairy on his walls. After a visit to the hospital to talk to Michael - with his bag of flashlights, his "peace of mind" - Kyle soon realizes Michael has had an encounter with the Tooth Fairy. Michael, like Kyle, now has a gripping fear of the dark, and is thought to have gone insane. Afraid of the truth, Kyle at first denies any relation to his condition, and walks away from Caitlin.

Beset upon by his neighbors from childhood, Kyle attempts to warn others of the Tooth Fairy and tells them to stay in the light. The ridicule and skepticism he faces leads to the death of many townspeople. To add to the terror, a lightning storm causes a disturbance in the local power grid, causing a blackout throughout the entire town. Realizing Michael and Caitlin are in grave danger, Kyle rushes to the hospital where Michael is being treated. While he is able to rescue Michael and Caitlin as they are being stalked by the Tooth Fairy, Kyle loses his bag of flashlights amidst the encounter. During this time, he gains allies as they realize his story is true. The Tooth Fairy is determined to kill Kyle - the one victim she could not conquer. Thereafter, Kyle, Michael and Caitlin decide to seek refuge in the largest light source in the town - the lighthouse. They are assisted by several medical personnel, all of whom are killed by the Tooth Fairy on the way.

The Tooth Fairy assails them aggressively. When they discover the lighthouse won't power up due to defective wiring, they attempt repairing it as their only other protection is two small kerosene lanterns low on oil. Amidst the struggle, the Tooth Fairy is able to hoist Kyle into the air. But before she is able to kill him, the repairs begin to work and the lighthouse powers up. The sudden exposure to the light agonizes the Tooth Fairy, leading her to drop and shatter her porcelain mask. With the mask destroyed, Kyle is able to see the Tooth Fairy's true, mutilated and disfigured face for the first time. Kyle realizes the Tooth Fairy is now vulnerable, as she resumes her attacks. Kyle punches the Tooth Fairy with a flaming fist and she finally dies.

As the film ends, a young child is being tucked into bed by his father. Though he is scared because he had just lost his last baby tooth, he finds, to the audience's knowledge, that his mother replaced the tooth with a gold coin, showing that the Tooth Fairy and her curse, have been destroyed forever.



Darkness Falls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score (Digital download / Audio CD) by Brian Tyler
Released March 4th, 2003
Length 48:32
Label Varese Sarabande
  1. Evil Rises [2:26]
  2. Darkness Falls [2:33]
  3. Eye Contact [1:50]
  4. Interrogatorio [2:13]
  5. A Bit Crispy [1:22]
  6. 25 Words or Less [1:41]
  7. Stay in the Light [1:22]
  8. Lose a Tooth [1:31]
  9. Der Zylinder [2:58]
  10. One Kiss [1:57]
  11. Let There Be Light Sort Of [1:08]
  12. We Are Safe In Here [0:37]
  13. We Are Not Safe In Here [0:43]
  14. Aftermath [1:29]
  15. Overhead [0:57]
  16. Consultation [2:12]
  17. Utter Darkness [1:28]
  18. That Has Got To Hurt [1:25]
  19. Kyle and Michael [2:30]
  20. Perception Tank [1:39]
  21. Blood Red Herring [0:44]
  22. Meet the Tooth Fairy [2:49]
  23. Reading the Legend [0:44]
  24. Is This Kyle Walsh? [1:53]
  25. The Mask [1:03]
  26. End Titles [7:07]


Critical reception[edit]

Darkness Falls was panned by critics upon its release. According to review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, 9% of critics gave the film a positive review out of 127 reviews, with an average rating of 3.3/10; the critical consensus is: "A derivative movie where the scares are few and things don't make much sense."[3] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 23 out of 100, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews", based on reviews from 27 critics.[4]

Box office[edit]

Darkness Falls was a commercial success, opening at number one in the American box office and recouping its $11 million budget in its opening weekend on January 24, 2003 making $32,551,396 domestically and $47,488,536 worldwide.[5]


Joe Harris wrote Darkness Falls: The Tragic Life of Matilda Dixon, a prequel comic, which was published by Dark Horse Comics. Author Keith R. A. DeCandido wrote a novelization of the film which was published by Pocket Books in December 2002.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]