Cast & Crew
Caitlin 'Cat' Greene
Young Kyle Walsh
Officer Andy Batten
Young Caitlin Greene
The Tooth Fairy
Young Lary Fleishman
Lou Arkoff, Derek Dauchy, Irene Dobson, John Fasano, John
Hegeman, William Sherak and Jason Shuman; Directed by
Jonathan Liebesman; Screenwritten by Joe Harris
John Fasano and James Vanderbilt
Rated PG-13 for terror and horror images, and brief
language; Running Time - 75 Minutes
Domestic Release Dates:
January 24, 2003
by DAVID KEYES
Falls" is a movie about every familiar idea and plot
technique that has ever been seen in a horror film, stretched
by lots of dark moments of swift and incoherent action and
a soundtrack loud enough to keep even those who would like
to doze off wide awake for the halfhearted thrill ride.
Depending exclusively on countless endeavors of the past
to emit its energy, the picture would serve as a worthwhile
experience only to those who have never seen a horror movie
in their life. Here, characters tend to walk through scenes
like they're being warned of impending danger, and then
are captured and crushed by an unseen flying spirit almost
on cue, as if it's all supposed to be genuinely scary.
it's not very scary at all. We are not scared of vague shadows
who simply whisk through camera shots and scream like banshees
with P.M.S. We are not scared by ghosts who wear masks that
look like they belong to Michael Myers. We aren't scared
when creatures who pass only through darkness are conveniently
granted citywide blackouts. And we aren't scared when people
venture into the shadows when they know darn well that they
have no business doing so. This is all simply not frightening,
nor jolting, nor even intellectually stimulating anymore.
The power of the visual is grand thing, but not when it
has been seen so many times in so many better ways before.
Audience's simply don't buy it.
movie opens with a voice-over narration that describes a
series of past events leading up to the current narrative
dilemma. In the town of Darkness Falls (yes, that's actually
the town's name), a lovely old woman named Matilda Dixon
once collected the baby teeth of the town's children and
gave them treasures in exchange for them. As a result of
her widely-accepted habit, she garnered the nickname of
the "Tooth Fairy," which stuck with her even after
a house fire left her brutally scarred and hidden behind
a white face mask. Later, she was falsely accused by townsfolk
of murdering two missing boys and executed. Before her death,
she vowed to take vengeance on the town of Darkness Falls
and all its inhabitants in death, where she would continue
her saga as the Tooth Fairy and punish those who dared to
look on her when she came to collect their last baby teeth.
Or something like that.
plot deals with a specific victim to this curse: Kyle Walsh
(played in the early scenes by Joshua Anderson, later by
Chaney Kley), a lad who, when he lost his last baby tooth,
foolishly looked at the Tooth Fairy during her obligatory
visit. Kyle survived the jolting confrontation, but his
mother, who passed into the dark room to assure her son
that the vision was all in his mind, wasn't so lucky. Experts
and town residents for 12 long years believed the murder
was committed by Kyle himself, but when the younger brother
of his old high school sweetheart begins having nightmares
and claims that the Tooth Fairy is out to get him too, the
town of Darkness Falls turns upside down and Walsh is forced
to return home to confront the demons of his past. Or something
screenplay, ironically credited with three different writers,
has little difficulty in feeding off solid horror films
of the past. Products like "A Nightmare on Elm Street,"
"The Blair Witch Project" and even "Candyman"
are invaded like unprotected banks by anxious mobsters,
robbed of crucial plot points and character decisions almost
directly. This might have been a forgivable characteristic
had the writers known what to do with the material, but
they simply throw it on screen without much forethought.
Lots of images flash across the screenmost of them
muddled and darkbut there's no kind of subtext to
get the viewer engaged beyond the thin exterior. The movie
has no kind of depth or resonance whatsoever.
only does "Darkness Falls" lack narrative shape,
it refuses to even make much sense. Why, for instance, does
this famous Tooth Fairy occasionally take the life of a
person who has not laid eyes on her when it's made clear
early on that she only victimizes those who do? Does she
travel to seek vengeance on those who have moved outside
of Darkness Falls? And where exactly is Darkness Falls,
anyway? To ask any of these questions is to defeat the purpose
of the movie even existing, but I guess that's to be expected
with any movie that demands us to accept tooth fairies as
director is Jonathan Liebesman, who, with a cast of unknowns
at his disposal, at least doesn't go overboard in his delivery
of a weak and unsatisfying plot (note the movie's brief
running time of 75 minutes, for instance). Reportedly, the
movie is actually based on a widely embraced short film
called "The Tooth Fairy" in which case the premise
probably didn't always seem like a bad idea. It's just a
shame, though, that a picture with enough nerve to steal
so much from so many other movies couldn't at least muster
up the courage to actually do something with the material
it had at its disposal. It's tangible, after all, to believe
a genuine fright-fest could result from this kind of foundation.
Or something like that.
© 2003, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.