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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Supporting your family. Adjusting to life in new countries. Showing bravery in the face of adversity. However, the movie's horror genre and plot undercut some of these.
Positive Role Models
Regina is mature beyond her years and cares about her mother, Maria, father, Mark, and young brother, Paul. Mark works hard to support his family despite his declining physical and mental health. Maria wants what's best for her family but is in denial about Mark's worsening state. Other characters wish harm on people and lie to get their way.
Some gender and ethnic diversity, although the main characters are predominantly White. Some discussion of life in other countries and other cultures. International cast and setting. More than one language spoken. A character is shown living with Huntington's disease, the impact of which has a detrimental impact on both their physical and mental well-being.
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Violence & Scariness
Character suffers convulsions, traumatic episodes. Character is tied to a chair and restrained against their will. Blood but no gore. Incision made in a character's neck for a medical procedure. Bloody injury and bruising from domestic accidents and disputes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character shown bare-shouldered in a bathtub. Character attempts to kiss another. Demonic creature appears without any clothing. No graphic nudity.
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Language used includes "s--t" and "ass." There is a non-rated version of the movie that has several uses of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
The main characters move to a large house in rural Spain and invest in improving and maintaining it.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine socially. One takes prescription drugs to excess.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Darkness is a supernatural thriller with jump scares, frightening visions, and occasional bloody violence. The story follows a family who have relocated from the U.S. to Spain and are struggling to adjust in their new home. The main characters are a secure family unit who care for one another. However, the father, Mark (Iain Glen), suffers from Huntington's disease and this places additional strain on him and his family, including daughter Regina (Anna Paquin). The house the family have moved to appears to be haunted, which affects characters' behavior in different and unusual ways, causing them to not always act with good intentions. The violence is brief but sometimes bloody, although without any gore. Characters are frequently startled by sudden noises and horrifying imagery. Characters drink in moderation at social functions. The only drug use is prescription drugs, but there is a scene with an overdose. There is some use of "s--t" and "ass." However, there is also an unrated version -- this review refers to the PG-13 version -- with some use of "f--k" and more bloody violence. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This haunted house horror has all the ingredients for a decent supernatural thriller but ends up overcooking all of them. Even if you can forgive Darkness' hokey premise and the horror movie cliches hiding behind every slammed door, it's unlikely that most viewers will have the patience for its brief but uneven story. Paquin is a reliable lead, starring as keen-eyed daughter Regina. But the writers don't seem to notice that the character with the most going on is her father, Mark. This leaves Iain Glen thrashing about on the sidelines as the troubled patriarch. Likewise, Mark's relationship with his father, Albert (Giancarlo Giannini), appears to hold the key to unlocking the movie's mystery. But this is quickly buried beneath a landslide of deafening musical cues and sub-Shining tearing around the house.
Richter-scale troubling levels of shakey-cam footage only create a finale that's as rushed as it is confusing. It's almost as though the creators of this unholy mess were seemingly keen to sacrifice more than just their characters to wrap things up and forget it ever happened.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.