Why So Serious(ly Awful), S. Darko?

Back when I saw the trailer for S. Darko, I had high hopes that it was going to be a campalicious train wreck.  It seemed to have the pedigree, after all.  It’s a straight-to-DVD release, it has a truly bizarre cast (Elizabeth Berkley, Ed Westwick, and Daveigh Chase???), and it’s automatically one of the worst ideas ever.  Seriously, a sequel to the cult classic Donnie Darko is pretty much the one thing absolutely nobody asked for, but that’s never stopped Hollywood before, so all we can do is cross our fingers for a new camp classic as we watch the bad ideas pile-up like a multi-car highway accident.  At least it’s got Elizabeth Berkley as a Jesus freak, so that’s something, right?

s darko wrong

On one hand, I really shouldn’t be surprised by how bad S. Darko ended up being.  Everything that could have made it the great camp sensation is also a liability.  Straight-to-DVD is always a coin toss between fabulously bad and just plain bad, so I guess for every Powder Blue there must also be an S. Darko.  Still, it’s an impressive feat to witness just what a spectacular failure S. Darko actually is.  Not in a fun way, mind you, but in a whoabitch-is-this-movie-terrible sort of way.

The plot involves Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase) heading out on a road trip with her rebellious friend (Briana Evigan) only to end up in a small town when their car breaks down.  There’s a crazy Christian cult in the town, disappearing children, and a crazed war veteran the town refers to Iraq Jack (James Lafferty).  Iraq Jack keeps seeing a Samantha ghost warn him of the impending end of the world, everybody in town loves Samantha because behaving like a melancholic zombie is the new sexy to Chuck Bass and the town nerd, and then a weird geometric shape travels through one of those space/time worms, bursts into flames above Earth, and becomes a meteor shower.  Meteors that give you nasty skin rashes and drive you violently insane.  Of course.  

Oh, and did I mention how the disappearing child plot line is never resolved because narrative resolution is for non-art movies?  Or that the movie conveys Samantha’s despondency over the death of her brother by long sequences of her just staring at things because that’s how movie convey deep shit like emotions or whatever?  Or that (SPOILER ALERT, but only if that means “Listen to this bullshit and tell me I didn’t just save you two hours of your life.”)  people frequently travel through time by their own decision, but only if it means it’ll save the titular S. from death.  Seriously, people don’t only love her, but they also feel compelled to travel back in time and sacrifice their own lives to prevent her from dying.  This happens on TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS.  BECAUSE SHE’S A BLANK-FACED BUNDLE OF INCOMPETENCY THAT JUST.  KEEPS.  DYING.  I just can’t, y’all.

If you’re going to make a movie that’s going to instantaneously incite the wrath of fanboys and girls the internet over, why not at least have the levity to not take your material so seriously?  At least you run the chance of garnering a cult audience that’ll appreciate your movie for the failure that it’ll inevitably be.  Unfortunately for S. Darko, the filmmakers insist on taking their material as deathly serious as is imaginable, so it totally sucks.  

Never mind that S. Darko‘s attempts at some sort of artistic ambition simply render it a turgid, anesthetized mess of overwrought pretension incapable of offering any redeemable pleasures, camp or otherwise.  Forget the fact that the filmmakers completely waste a golden opportunity with their casting of Elizabeth Berkley; she does some wonderful crazy with her few scenes, but these moments are too infrequent to be worth watching the rest of this dreck.  S. Darko‘s an abominable collage of ideas so half-baked that this shit’ll give you salmonella.  I usually have an iron-clad stomach when it comes to the craptastic, but I even got the queasies while watching this junk.

So seriously, S is for stupid, y’all.  Batshit fuckin’ stupid.  Watch it at your own risk, or, better yet, not at all.

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