Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Dark Is Rising

directed by David L. Cunningham

The Dark Is Rising poster  
Will Stanton thinks he's an ordinary 14 year-old boy. As one of the youngest children in a large family he's used to being forgotten, teased or crowded out by his older brothers. When they arrive home for the Christmas holidays not only do they take up his room, consigning him to the attic, but one of them also monopolises the girl he wants to date.

Gradually a sense of the uncanny creeps in, as large numbers of crows seem to follow the boy around. Will is told by some friends of his family that he is actually very special indeed. He has powers, including the ability to travel through time. But the forces of darkness are growing in strength. If Will can't find six symbols to unlock the power of light within a few days then the world as we know it will be enveloped in darkness and everyone will die.

The darkness is personified by Christopher Eccleston, both as a black-clad horseman and a creepy doctor. His pale horse rears for effect at every opportunity, as though it's incredibly skittish or badly trained. Eccleston portrays quite a civilised bad guy, almost reasonable. But it's always too obvious that Will can't trust him. Perhaps a bit more doubt on this point would have resulted in a more interesting film, but as it stands the dark rider seems somewhat wooden, and certainly trite.

Will is assisted in his quest by four "old ones", people who exist outside of time. Unfortunately they have a tendency to use slightly ham archaic speech, blathering on about light and dark and "the chosen one" without any sense of irony, or at the very least some self-conscious embarrassment.

The Dark Is Rising is very much a film for children, given its simplified and predictable plot and its extremely black and white view of the world. Yet oddly enough it's rated 12 due to its violent scenes, so the potential audience for this movie is fairly small, since it insults the intelligence of many children who are mature enough to watch it.

If you've seen the trailer you have already seen most of this film's highlights. The main redeeming features of this movie are the special effects, which can be quite attractive. But such effects are now common to all but the lowest-budget movies, and it takes more than a few shiny symbols and some smoke to make up for such a basic script.

Film Details

Year: 2007

Categories: Films


Classification: 12

If you like this, try:

Eragon cover    

Eragon by Stefen Fangmeier
A young farm boy discovers a dragon egg, and finds that everything changes. Including most of the original plot of the book.

2 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about David L. Cunningham