Review: Darkness Descends

21 Jul 14

Darkness Descends

An intrepid journalist makes her way through New York’s underworld, travelling through the tunnels beneath the streets to hear the stories of the people who live there. They are all similar: life has been unkind, and the tunnel dwellers had nowhere else to go. A community has been built up among the shabby discarded mattresses and the cans of spray-paint; a group of people who look out for one another, keep each other as safe as they can.

They all speak of one thing that sounds more like urban legend than reality: Angel and his crew of dangerous allies, the Chosen.

Undeterred, the journalist makes her way deep into the labyrinth to find Angel’s lair, aided by Skeeter, a rambling drunk with good intentions, and Jake, an ex-cop whose reasons for being on the street are perhaps more closely linked with Angel’s group of vigilantes than anyone else’s.

They find Angel just as he is about to enact his plan to take over the city, and bloodshed ensues. Danny Trejo excels as the mysterious figurehead of the Chosen, looking dangerous and sadistic, and sounding at odds with the world.

It’s a good Friday night’s entertainment, even if its low budget is obvious. The journalist is difficult to like, playing the common stereotype of ‘clueless white girl with a camera’, but the people living on the street are complex and enjoyable characters, and Jake’s back story is intriguing enough to make a reasonable subplot.

I had the feeling throughout the film that it might have made a better theatre production. It often gave the feeling of being on a stage; the dim lighting, the ‘set changes’; and I think it would benefit from a theatrical adaptation.

Darkness Descends is available now on iTunes and in Asda, Sainsbury’s and HMV.

5/10 An average movie with theatrical potential, saved by Danny Trejo