Darkness

Weekly Alibi

DIRECTED BY: Leif Jonker

REVIEWED: 07-21-97

Wichita homeboy (man! finally got to say "homeboy") Leif Jonker produced, wrote and directed this ultra-low-budget gorefest about vampires on the loose in the Midwest, and despite a few gripes, it's a "Videodrome" fave. We open in a gas station/convenience store, where a blood-drenched teenster enters, screaming and hollering like a crazed ape. Grabbing a cop's gun, he proceeds to blow his own head off. Seconds later, he jumps up and bites the hell out of the cop, and a bloodbath ensues. One customer survives by hiding behind the two-liter soda bottles. Sufficiently traumatized by the carnage on display, this fellow becomes a vampire hunter, setting out with shotgun and (appropriately enough) two-liter bottles of holy water in a never-ending quest to stomp a mudhole in the collective ass of bloodsucking hellspawn wherever they may roam. After chainsawing a few vampires in an abandoned house, he stumbles across a group of '80s Mall-Rocker-Teens who've had their own problems with the undead, and they join forces. Jonker (who sold his blood to help finance the flick) is nursing a serious John Carpenter jones here, and it shows--one big difference being that Carpenter can afford a light kit so we can actually see the action (it ain't called Darkness for nothin'). My biggest complaint about the movie is the plethora of teenage non-actors in all the roles--the lead vampire is some S.C.A.-lookin', Magic-the-Gathering-playin' cheeseball who's nowhere near as frightening as he thinks he is (I can hear Jonker now: "Hey, let's cast Randy, he's got that cool trenchcoat"), and the movie never really overcomes their amateurish acting (it's tough to be afraid of a buncha vampires who look like they spilled ketchup on themselves at a high school football game). However, the blood spews beyond measure, and Jonker obviously harbors some real talent. Give this guy some money, some actors and a better script, and I think he could give us a real buttocks-clencher of a horror flick. (Film Threat)

--Scott Phillips

Film Vault Suggested Links
Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
The Godmonster of Indian Flats

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