June 22nd, 2009

S. DARKO (2009) * ½

Donnie Darko was a groovy Mind Fuck Movie that went on to garner a deserved cult following over the years.  Having a Direct-to-DVD sequel come out 8 years after the fact is just plain bizarre.  Since this is Donnie Darko we’re talking about here, the idea is so damn bizarre that I thought it just might work.  I was wrong.


The sequel starts off with Donnie’s sister Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase), now a teenager, running away from home with her slutty friend (Briana Evigan) in tow.  Their car breaks down and they get stuck in a jerkwater town where there’s a nutbar known as “Iraq Jack” (James Lafferty) running around presumably murdering kids.  This guy has a vision of Samantha coming to him (with the requisite bubble-coming-out-of-the-chest deal) and telling him that the world will end so he makes a bunny mask out of sheet metal.  Other assorted oddball characters interact with Samantha and the usual Donnie Darko hijinks occur.


S. Darko doesn’t really feel like a sequel because the character of Samantha was more or less inconsequential in the first movie (save for the sequence where she danced to Duran Duran’s “Notorious”).  Centering a sequel around her character is kinda like doing Casablanca 2 and making it all about Sam the piano player.  That is to say, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.


Most of S. Darko feels like a bad riff on those terrible angst-ridden independent movies from the 90’s.  The characters all seem phony and talk in morose metaphors and think they sound all clever and shit.  Also, the plot twists and turns too much for its own good and tries way too hard to mess with your mind.  Having said that; there is at least one memorable twist that occurs about halfway through that I didn’t see coming.  Sadly, there’s another twist a few minutes later that completely negates that promising plot development and the movie keeps right on sucking.    


The cast all do what they can with the substandard material and iffy dialogue.  There is at least one pearl in this oyster of shit though.  That’s Elizabeth (Showgirls) Berkley who gets the best line of the movie:  “This town used to be a decent place.  Then came the drugs and anus sex!”