Comfortable and Furious

Darkness (2002)


Let’s straighten something out before we get started. Anna Paquin — just a set of tits?

Those are Oscar-winning tits, my good man, so be respectful. Still, as one of the few who believed her award was much undeserved, I can’t say she has any real talent. At the very least, her roles have been forgettable at best and at the moment, I can’t think of a single film she’s appeared in since The Piano. The only choice left is for her to bare it all and contribute to some lonely kid’s masturbation obsession. Or mine.

Is this what I think it is, a “haunted house with a bizarre past?” Surely this film is part of that Hollywood Renaissance they’ve been talking about. The new golden age?

Fortunately for the creative talents involved, the script practically writes itself. Just don’t forget the music box that starts on its own, the dusty record player that also starts on its own, the pencils that roll away from the frightened child, the wild father who starts tearing up the house, the hidden rooms with scary secrets, the phone calls with the giggling children, or the mysterious strangers standing in the rain. And please remember the unexplained bruises that appear on the young boy, the shadows in the night, the whispers and cackles coming from darkened hallways, and the chestnut of all horror film chestnuts: “It’s starting again…..

Is there any reason this story had to be set in Spain?

None whatsoever, except to allow for the creepy grandfather with an accent. Given that 99.5% of the film takes place indoors, it could have been set in Boise, Idaho for all we know. Perhaps it was.

So, who’s the nutty architect with a limp?

Yes, he who speaks in a whisper, is curiously unshaven, utters lines like, “You shouldn’t have come,” and happens to keep blueprints nearby just in case strangers drop in to ask about haunted houses and the like. He even pleads with Paquin: “Get your brother out of the house!” Needless to say, he provides no further explanation before being attacked in some tunnel.

Okay, so back to Paquin. What gives?

In addition to weeping and screaming, she bathes, swims, and wears revealing tops. A particularly nice scene has her running downstairs to help her father, which necessitates the tightest possible t-shirt she can pull from her closet. I’m still cleaning up the jizz.

There’s another guy with an accent, I believe. And why is he constantly phoning Paquin?

He’s investigating the mystery of the house and seems on the verge of learning “the truth.” Needless to say, I waited patiently for his ritualistic slaughter, most likely at the hands of those dead children.

You said the father “went wild.” How do we know he’s cracking up?

He hammers a lot, digs holes, has a seizure in the middle of the road, chops fruit until he nearly cuts off his finger, and insists that creatures inhabit the walls. That, and he doesn’t ask to share the tub with Paquin.

What the fuck, man — why on earth is Paquin kidnapped by her grandfather?

So he can tell her all about “the darkness,” of course, but only after caressing assorted instruments and putting on surgical gloves. When he grabs the blindfold, it’s all over dude. Alas, Paquin is still fully clothed when we see her next. And so not raped.

So what is “the darkness?”

Obviously, because the grandpa survived 40 years ago while his six friends were butchered by spirits, he must re-institute the sacrifice and kill his own son. But we must first think that he wants to kill his grandson. Or rape his granddaughter. Or scare the living fuck out of his daughter-in-law. Or ramble incoherently for five full minutes while I take a burrito-inspired shit.

Why so much emphasis on an eclipse? Or swing sets in the rain?

You know what they say, “Nothing good ever happens in a driving thunderstorm.” At least not in the movies. As for the eclipse, it is meant to symbolize the passing of innocence and the triumph of the evil twilight. Or maybe how inane superstitions should pass the fuck away in the face of scientific understanding. But when you’re armed with a yellowing parchment and the testimony of a wild-eyed gimp, logic and reason are simply no match.

Anything special in this mess?

It’s the only film I can remember that ends with a tracheotomy.

How about lessons for a post-9/11 America?

Foreign countries are inherently evil, and only by returning to the States can one be fully cleansed.