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Darkness Falls (2016, Jarno Lee Vinsencius)

Darkness Falls runs fifteen minutes. The entire short film is set up for its end twist, which multi-hyphenate (including writer and director) Vinsencius hides fairly well. The short never meanders towards its conclusion, instead it just stops and muscles through a bunch of expository dialogue and then ends. The narrative requires newly introduced characters to be stupider than previously introduced characters say they should be. But then the movie stops so is the twist good enough to cover it all?

No, especially not considering how little work Vinsencius puts into establishing the characters. The short opens with Joanna Häggblom waking up an amnesiac in the middle of the forest. Two weeks later, after she’s apparently found her way back to her normal life–without remembering anything except her taste in fashion–Demis Tzivis shows up and tells her what should be a tall tale except for the menacing biker chicks after them.

There’s some kind of a chase sequence–more like a running sequence (well, driving sequence)–that lengthy exposition scene I mentioned, the setup for the twist and then the twist. As a director, Vinsencius does okay with the Panavision aspect ratio. His photography is solid. His editing isn’t, it’s fine but it doesn’t breathe with its protagonist. And once Tzivis shows up, Häggblom is basically just along for the ride. She asks questions and makes inquisitive expressions.

Decent support from Livia Emma Tsirk. Not so much from Niclas Fransson as Brain.

Darkness Falls is never scary, never disturbing; it’s never clear if it’s supposed to be either. But Vinsencius’s photography is strong and his composition’s competent enough. His script just doesn’t go anywhere and he doesn’t find any rhythm with the actors.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Written, directed, photographed, edited and produced by Jarno Lee Vinsencius.

Starring Joanna Häggblom (Melissa), Demis Tzivis (David), Anna-Sara Kennedy (Margareta), Livia Emma Tsirk (Amanda) and Niclas Fransson (Felix).


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