Plot: Madison (Tara Holt) is about to revisit her childhood home for the first time in years, as it is scheduled to be demolished soon. The house doesn’t hold many great memories however, as her mother went off the deep and murdered Madison’s young sister. She hopes that by spending the last night inside the house, she can find some peace and perhaps even some answers. At least that’s what her boyfriend Jake (Bryce Johnson) has convinced her could happen and since he is a therapist and all, perhaps he knows best. The two are joined for this slumber party by Madison’s cousin Izzy (Katrina Law), so at least there should be safety in numbers, right? As if the visions that have haunted Madison her entire life weren’t eerie enough, it soon becomes clear the house could have retained some kind of negative presence. But is it just Madison’s mind playing tricks, or is there some horrific force loose in the house?
Entertainment Value: Darkness Rising has some interesting elements, but never really seems to find a proper foothold. I appreciated how the movie wastes little time and dives right into the narrative, but it soon settles into a rather by the numbers haunted house experience. I know these kind of formulas remain popular for good reason, as people tend to like familiar threads, but I would have liked a few more original touches. But the movie does work the tried and true blueprint well, so while it might not be creative, it checks all the right boxes. This includes creepy sounds, loud noises, and ample jump scares, with a few splashes of effects thrown in. So I do think it provides some scares, but they’re a little on the cheap side and for me, Darkness Rising works best when it moves outside that box. A grotesque discovery in a bathtub is a memorable bright spot, but then little is done in the wake of the reveal. I found that to be the most memorable part of the movie, but it is just left behind soon after it happens. Yes, glazed over eyes are weird, but this horrific discovery was much more interesting, in my opinion. The atmosphere is passable, never overly immersive or tense, but capable as far as more run of the mill horror is concerned. Darkness Rising doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but for haunted house fanatics, it is worth a spin.
No nakedness. The movie has some blood involved, but not that much. One stand out moment involves a rather goopy eye removal, which doesn’t look real, but still looks quite cool. There’s also the rather hideous bathtub surprise, which again is such a creepy reveal, but isn’t used for much after. Otherwise, we have some creepy eye clouding and a few random off screen bits of violence, but that’s all. A little banter early in the movie provides some fun dialogue, but soon things the old dark, serious turn and from there, not much in terms of memorable lines. I did love the awkward, supposed to be creepy but ends up hilarious phone call, however. I do think the bathtub reveal adds a point of craziness, but it is a shame the movie didn’t run with that thread. Other than that, business as usual in this one.
Overall Insanity: 1/10