FTP: Darkness Rising (2017)

JANUARY 28, 2019


It was about a year ago that I first tried to watch Darkness Rising, not getting too far before falling asleep. Why I didn't try to finish it then is a mystery (smart bet: other stuff I *had* to watch arrived and it just got forgotten) but it's a perfect "FTP" entry in that I have very little to say about it and am happy to finally feel comfortable with dropping it off at a Goodwill or something, knowing that it isn't anything I ever need to watch again. It took me four sittings to finally get through it all, which is kind of a problem for an 80 minute movie, wouldn't you agree? I mean it only took me one to get through Slender Man.

At least it starts promisingly enough, with a woman, her boyfriend, and her cousin breaking into her (condemned) childhood home to retrieve some things and maybe finally figure out why her mom went crazy twenty years ago. They're only there for about seven seconds before they start seeing things, and then their minds start to work against them - a suburban Shining of sorts! But then more stuff happens, and then more stuff happens, and then... yet more stuff happens, as if the writers were afraid to leave any haunted house/supernatural cliche on the table. People's eyes turn black as they turn on their friends, angry dogs appear out of nowhere, ghostly figures pop out, creepy phone calls are received... at a certain point I gave up trying to make sense out of any of it, assuming they were just purposely going for a kitchen sink thing in the spirit of Evil Dead, albeit without the humor or DIY charm.

And the comparison isn't really a stretch, because the film is bookended with scenes of Ted Raimi himself, in period garb, though like most of the rest of the plot I couldn't quite discern the point of the scenes other than to say "Hey, Ted Raimi!", as if they wanted to pay their respects to the film they were emulating. To be fair some of these random sequences kind of work - I enjoyed the bit where they were trying to leave the house only for a dog and its many copies to block them at every exit, and even if it wasn't played for laughs I was amused when one of them was plagued by visions and poured bleach in her eyes to stop them, only for it to not work (bonus: the other girl uses toilet water to rinse her eyes!). But it's hard to get particularly worked up in the plight of the characters when there were no clear rules to the threat, and while the house is serviceable for this sort of thing it gets mighty repetitive watching just these three people (apart from Raimi's scenes, the entire film takes place within the house in one night, with no other characters) wander around the same hallways and bedrooms. Sam Raimi might have been able to make this work with some inventive camerawork and editorial energy, but these folks do not. Movies this short shouldn't be such a struggle to get through, especially for someone with my level of experience of watching anything/everything.

What say you?


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