The movie then takes the typical route of studio horror films, churning out the spooky moments by the beat, the usual mix of set-up and payoff, amounting to not much of anything. There are occasional flinch-inciting moments, and there's even a pretty good sense of humor at work, but for the most part "Darkness Falls" is run-of-the-mill and derivative. There are shades of "Halloween II," "The Frighteners," "Candyman" and even "Pitch Black," but all of those are better movies, and none of them are particularly great.
One of the undermining components in this film, besides its storyline, is a mess of bad acting, beginning with its stoic lead, relative newcomer Chaney Kley ("Legally Blonde"), who plays the grown-up version of Kyle. Ever since seeing the Tooth Fairy as a kid, Kyle can't bear the dark and hasn't been able to sleep more than a few moments at a time. He lives in Las Vegas, takes stimulants by the megadose and has flashlight fetish. When a girl he knew from childhood (played as an adult by Emma Caulfield of TV's "Buffy The Vampire Slayer") calls about her young brother, who is also afraid of the dark and never sleeps, Kyle decides to return home for the first time in years. Most everyone dies. Hopefully Mr. Kley and the other actors were only hampered by a bad script and a mediocre director. As for the rest of the film's shortcomings, they're certainly the result of a bad script and mediocre director. Starring Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Joshua Anderson, Andrew Bayly, Mark Blackmore, Emily Browning and Antony Burrow. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Written by Joseph Harris, John Fasano and James Vanderbilt. Produced by John Fasano, John Hegeman, William Sherak and Jason Shuman. A Columbia release. Horror/Thriller. Rated PG-13 for Rated R for terror and horror images, and brief language. Running time: 78 min