Random thoughts



The Substream's Film Lab

Home » Reviews

S. Darko – could have been good, but….

Submitted by on May 2, 2009 – 11:23 pm2 Comments

s_darkoAre you a completist? Do you feel like if you buy one film then you need the whole collection (despite the sequels being utter awfulness)? Well if you are one of these odd you may consider getting S. Darko (the “sequel” to the acclaimed 2001 film Donnie Darko). For the record the word “sequel” is in quotation marks because it is a sequel in perhaps the loosest of ways.

Richard Kelly (the original’s director) has already made it very clear he has nothing to do with this film and refuses to work with any actor involved in it. The internet buzz is not very encouraging as instead of concentrating on a major character from the original, it takes the most annoying one and centres a film around her (the tedious dancing child Samantha).


The story picks up seven years after the first film when little sister Samantha Darko and her Corey are now 18 and on a road trip to Los Angeles when they are plagued by bizarre visions.


I love an underdog! If ever a film is getting some seriously low expectations then I’ll give it a chance in the hope that perhaps some good will come from it. With this in mind then I watched S. Darko. I didn’t expect anything as smart as Donnie Darko but had hoped that the sequel would keep the mystery aspect whilst being mildly entertaining throughout.

Donnie Darko managed this by incorporating humour regarding scenes such as Smurfette being promiscuous and Donnie challenging the evangelist speech of Swayze’s character. Unfortunately S. Darko doesn’t. I would love to elaborate to that simple sentence but I can’t do it without going off on a rant……To hell with it:

Do you want to watch over 100 minutes of teenage angst? Do you feel the need for an incoherent storyline in the Donnie Darko world? Do you mind if all smart dialogue is replaced by ineloquent language such as: “Do you believe in spooky shit”? Are you under the impression that in this straight-to- release will basically be a bunch of young adults pretending to be grown up? If the answer to the above is a resounding “yes”, then I urge you to buy S. Darko. I also urge you to get some help!

Throughout S. Darko you are introduced to a whole host of characters who try their very best to be “weird”. There is absolutely no attempt at normalcy in the proceedings. The pastor is weird. The cop is weird. The character of Trudy (played by Elizabeth Berkley) is weird. The geek is weird. Even the fish dress clothing is oddly weird. In the first film it seemed despite an underlying weirdness to the whole affair there was at least a “normal” dynamic in the Darko family.

So Daveigh Chase returns and is accompanied by Briana Evigan (Step Up 2: The Streets) and Elizabeth Berkley. Every single one of the characters on screen has no entertainment value. That is until Daveigh Chase is in a fish dress. Once she dons the dress (throughout the film) she actually makes a good at being suitably er….weird. All the other times are completely wasted and if you ever feel the need to experience what I just have, then take a visit to your nearest ’s house and have a conversation with them for five minutes. EVERY single thing annoys them! Every single thing deserves the obligatory pout! How on earth does your standard teenager ever find a boyfriend / girlfriend? Surely they would have to smile once in a while to do that!

Ahem. The sequel misses the point of the first film (much like this review) and decides tangent universes are inherently more complicated than the original claims. Unfortunately it seems that tangent universes are inherently more complicated than the screenwriter could cope with as he (Nathan Atkins) seems to be lost in his tale.

s_darko_2For me, the whole point of a sequel is to make a better film than the last. This was not to be the case. The biggest shame though of this whole process is the fact that it had potential. Yes, you heard me right! This film had potential. Okay so the dialogue is as thin as Briana Evigan’s ever shrinking waste, Elizabeth Berkley’s performance is laughable (and that is being kind) and glowing feathers made of lead seem to appear everywhere. However you do watch the film and suffer through its confusion in the hope that all will make sense. It doesn’t! Donnie Darko was entertaining to most who didn’t truly understand it. This made you want to watch it again in the hope that more would be revealed. S. Darko is confusing unnecessarily. It is trying to be too smart and like a book on Quantum physics (to most of us) we’d read the first page and after 24 hours of hopelessly trying to understand it, we’d give up.

S. Darko was better than expected. I only reveal that because it had so much potential. Unfortunately this potential was put to rest the second the camera started rolling and the director didn’t say: “YOU’RE FIRED. I’M OFF TO GET ME SOME REAL ACTORS”. This film will appeal (as said before) to obsessive completists and anyone capable of reading Quantum Physics who takes too many narcotics and who hasn’t seen the original.


What could have been a surprisingly good film turned into the turkey that we all expected. This was a great shame as with so much potential, different actors and quite a few tweaks we may have experienced something quite good (well almost).

There is nothing wrong with the underdog. However the underdog on occasions needs to be taken to the back shed and be shot! S. Darko needs that cruel-to-be-kindness. It was incoherent, badly written, often boring and would have been better acted by sock puppets! I’m off to watch the original!

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

S. Darko is released on DVD and Blu Ray on May 12th 2009

Comments are closed.