Movie Review

Darkness Falls

Every Legend Has Its Dark Side.
Darkness Falls Movie Poster

US Release Date: 01-24-2003

Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman


  • Emma Caulfield
  • Caitlin Greene
  • Chaney Kley
  • Kyle Walsh
  • Lee Cormie
  • Michael Greene
  • Andrew Bayly
  • Officer Andy Batten
  • Grant Piro
  • Larry Fleishman
  • Antony Burrows
  • The Tooth Fairy
  • Joshua Anderson
  • Young Kyle Walsh
  • Emily Browning
  • Young Caitlin Greene
  • Rebecca McCauley
  • Margaret Walsh
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: January 26th, 2003
Emma Caulfield in Darkness Falls.

Emma Caulfield in Darkness Falls.

Darkness Falls is exactly what a horror movie should be; fun, scary, fast paced, and with 'jump' moments galore.  And with a running time of less than an hour and a half there's not room for a dull moment.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I have to confess, I'm not normally a huge fan of horror movies.

The movie begins with the telling of the legend of the Tooth Fairy in the town of  Darkness Falls.  150 years ago, Matilda Dixon, a sweet old lady, would visit children when they would lose their baby teeth and give them money in return for the teeth.  One day a fire swept through Matilda's home, leaving her horribly scarred and disfigured.  From that day on, her skin was so sensitive to daylight that she could only appear in the dimmest of light and only while wearing a porcelain mask.  Mistrustful of her now, the townspeople suspect her when two children go missing and she is hanged.  Before dying, she lays a curse upon the town, swearing vengeance.

Flash forward 138 years.  Young Kyle Walsh has just lost his tooth.  Jokingly he is told, 'Don't peek when the Tooth Fairy shows up."  The legend of Matilda Dixon is now just a joke told to children.  Not believing in the legend and scared by the night noises he hears, Kyle peeks.  The ghost of Matilda Dixon is now a black-cowled, mask-wearing vengeful spirit who will kill anyone who looks upon her.  Her only weakness?  The light that hurt her in life can still hurt her now.  Kyle manages to run into the light of the bathroom and is safe.  His mother, coming to investigate the noise is not so lucky.

Flash forward to present day.  Kyle is now living in Las Vegas.  He's never fully recovered from his mother's death and the events of that night.  He travels always with a bag of flashlights and never lets himself get caught in the dark.  A phone call from childhood friend Caitlin Greene brings him back to the town of Darkness Falls where her younger brother is claiming to have seen the same evil being that Kyle saw all those years ago.

The rest of the movie is a roller-coaster ride as the ever-dwindling population of Darkness Falls battles against the ghost of Matilda Dixon.  Matters are not helped when the town is plunged into darkness due to an electrical storm.  Kyle, the only adult with experience of fighting her, leads them, supplied with flashlights and lanterns.  The movie steams along at a fast clip, with fun moments, scary near misses, never letting up all the way to the climatic ending inside the lighthouse.

Obviously some of this movie we've seen before.  Ever since The Sixth Sense, every horror movie made, seems to require a serious, supernaturally connected, young boy.  And I couldn't count the number of 'vengeful spirit wreaks havoc on town that wronged them' movies that have been made.  But what this movie lacks in originality, it makes up for with thrills and fun.

The cast is all good, even if the only emotions they are required to display are fear, anger, and anxiety.  Having been a fan of the Buffy: The Vampire television series, I particularly enjoyed seeing Emma Caulfield on the big screen, escaping her character, if not the genre.

If you're looking for simple, no thinking required, relax and have a good time at the movies fun, then you really couldn't do better than seeing this movie.

Reviewed on: January 29th, 2003
Emma Caulfield in Darkness Falls.

Emma Caulfield in Darkness Falls.

Darkness Falls is an amateur horror film. It adds nothing new to the genre. As Scott wrote, a vengeful spirit and a disbelieving town is hardly a new setting. I do not know what has happened to Scott's standards, but this is such a predictable film that by giving Darkness Falls 3 1/2 stars, Scott insults every 3 1/2 star movie on this site.

I jumped at a few scenes. However, I too often found myself wondering why doesn't he just turn on the overhead light in the car. When they had to jump from one lighted landing to the next I accurately guessed in order who would be the next victim. From the first moment I saw the lighthouse I knew how the light-hating ghost would meet her doom.

The acting and dialogue are adequate to the film. "Stay in the light." Gets dramatically yelled all the time. Usually just before someone gets killed for not heeding the warning. Well heed this warning. Don't go see this movie unless you have seen absolutely everything else already showing.

Reviewed on: May 14th, 2003
Emma Caulfield in Darkness Falls.

Emma Caulfield in Darkness Falls.

Darkness Falls is a campy bit of horror fun. It is simple and to the point and doesn't aspire to be any thing other than it is. A low budget horror movie. It has a cookie cutter plot and is peopled with all too familiar characters, still, if you are not too particular or are just in the mood for a mindless fright, and some unintentional laughs, then this movie should do the trick.

The opening scene that introduces Matilda Dixon and explains how she became the evil ghost known as the Tooth Fairy is fairly intriguing. Unfortunately the ghost is never given much of a personality. She is simply a mindless killer that makes funny noises and flies around killing people. And some of the scary scenes are actually quite humorous, but that just adds to the campy fun. I found myself laughing, after a while, at all of the incredibly earnest "Stay In The Light!" lines that Eric referred to. Clearly the actors were far more serious about their roles than the story or dialogue deserved.

No review of Darkness Falls would be complete without a mention of what surely must be one of the most hilarious lines ever spoken in a horror movie. When Kyle deals the deathblow to the horribly disfigured old ghost he yells, "I see you, Bitch!" I was practically rolling on the floor.

Although this movie does succeed on the level of being pure escapist B-movie horror trash, I still cannot possibly fathom why my brother Scott would give it 3 1/2 stars. But then again we all have moments of bad judgment. If Darkness Falls gets lucky it will be rediscovered in ten years as a cult favorite, otherwise it will be soon forgotten.