Forget dialogue, romantic interests, love scenes, and nudity; low-budget gorefest Darkness from 1993 is virtually nonstop chasing, vampire slaying, and mortal-eating goodness. The plot is simple. When Liven, king of the vampires, comes to town and begins to turn everyone into vamps, a band of survivors attempts to take out as many undead as possible while trying to stay alive.
Let’s get Liven out of the way (as I wish the director had). His character is the only real downside to this perfect piece of indie trash. He’s not necessary at all. This is a perfectly fine humans vs. cannibalistic vampires film. Liven’s presence is b-movie bad; the dude has long blond locks, has an evil menace face plastered on all the time, and wears a long black leather jacket. It’s just too cartoonish and doesn’t fit the tone of the movie. Look at that DVD art—it so doesn’t capture the spirit of the film.
This is an hour and a half of kids running, gunning, and getting their guts ripped out. The look and feel is classic direct-to-VHS horror, from poor lighting that makes the film incredibly eerie, to over-the-top gore that is so bloody disgusting you forget it’s fake. While much of the film is action and carnage set to a thrash metal soundtrack, there are these highly stylized and nuanced moments of creepy suspense sprinkled throughout the film that show director Leif Jonker’s potential for horror brilliance. Unfortunately, he never made another film.
Darkness is definitely a gorehound’s treat, especially the mass vampire disintegration at the end. And there’s an awesome final shot of “Chiller” proportions with a hand rising out of the grave, which is then ruined by a full shot of…the king of the vampires. Damn you to hell, Liven!
Note that the 2-disc “Vampire Version” of the movie includes a newly restored cut that looks great, but is an alternate edit from the VHS tape. Conveniently, the original VHS version is included on disc 2. It looks like crap because it’s not remastered…but that’s exactly what makes it look sooooo good.