Darkness Rising 2017
Frank Scheck for The Hollywood Reporter claimed the film “would be infuriating except that its terminal dullness saps the energy required for outrage.” Monica Castillo for The New York Times found that the film had potential but disappointed saying “Austin Reading’s horror movie “Darkness Rising” has the makings of a solid haunted-house story…However, tossing these ingredients together does not guarantee a decent scare.” Noel Murray of The Los Angeles Times called the film “as blandly forgettable as its title.”
Maitland McDonagh for Film Journal International said “Ultimately, the trouble with Darkness Rising isn’t that so much it’s generic—Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) is a classic that works with the same basic notes—as that the characters are so undefined that it’s impossible to care what happens to them beyond wishing that they’d stop screaming.” Matt Boiselle for Dread Central gave the film two stars saying “Overall, I’d recommend Darkness Rising solely to fans of watered-down haunted house flicks, but only if damn near every other watered-down haunted house flick was unavailable to be viewed at that specific time—take a pass.”Horrorella for Aint It Cool News called it “a very mixed bag of good intentions, potentially interesting ideas and poor execution.”
Austin Reading’s horror movie “Darkness Rising” has the makings of a solid haunted-house story: creepy ghosts, maniacal dogs, nightmare-inducing dolls, demonic possession, cursed artifacts and a splattering of blood for good measure. However, tossing these ingredients together does not guarantee a decent scare.
Still grieving the murder of her baby sister by her mother, Madison (Katrina Law) returns to her abandoned family home with her cousin (Tara Holt) and fiancé (Bryce Johnson) before the building is demolished. None of them know that the evil spirit that had possessed Madison’s mother would remain, setting the stage for deadly consequences.
Mr. Reading and the screenwriter, Vikram Weet, channel the likes of the original “Evil Dead” and “The Amityville Horror” in this story, but there are almost too many references to other movies for this one to become its own monster.
Although the script is stuffed with eerie objects and happenings, there is a sense of restraint that keeps “Darkness Rising” from becoming frightening. The cinematography seems static and distant, not so much trapped in a house of evil spirits as it is stifled by the space.