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Film review: Darkness Falls

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"Darkness Falls" is the perfect horror movie for those who find the Tooth Fairy scary.

But for the rest of us, who find the concept of a visit to the dentist infinitely more horrifying, this is one of the dumbest, least terrifying concepts for a fright flick to come down the pike in a long, long time.

This heavily re-worked mess is more likely to prompt disgust than screams or shrieks . . . unless, of course, the audience is too busy laughing.

"Darkness Falls" refers to a relatively small Maine community that is being terrorized . . . by the Tooth Fairy. (As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up!) According to legend, 150 years earlier she was a benevolent woman who was wrongly hanged and burned after the disappearance of two children in the town. These days, she seeks vengeance on those who are dopey enough to try and catch a peek at her when she comes to take their discarded baby teeth.

Only one victim has survived her wrath, Kyle (Chaney Kley), who was institutionalized after his mother was killed by the murderous spirit. Now he's returned to town to save Michael (Lee Cormie), the younger brother of Kyle's childhood sweetheart Caitlin (Emma Caulfield). And somehow the creature senses the presence of The One That Got Away. And the chase is on.

Among the film's funnier moments is the sight and sound of its main threat, a wheezing apparition in a porcelain mask and a black cloak — not exactly the kind of creature that's going to give any self-respecting moviegoer a nightmare. (This is perhaps the worst work ever turned in by Oscar-winning effects genius Stan Winston.)

Director Jonathan Liebesman uses every cheap-jolt technique in the book, but you can't blame him for wanting to cover up for the performances, which include some of the worst acting by a supposedly professional cast. Let's just say Kley and Cormie are less than impressive in their big-screen debut.

"Darkness Falls" is rated PG-13 for violence (creature attacks, gunfire and a bar brawl), occasional use of strong profanity (including one usage of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), drug content (use of prescription drugs and tranquilizers), as well as some gory makeup effects. Running time: 85 minutes.

E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com