By this point, the practice of basing a horror movie around some distorted, not-in-the-slightest-bit-authentic riff on the practices and mythologies of other cultures really shouldn’t be a thing anymore. I mean, it’s 2015 for crimminy’s sake, movies about supernatural bogymen erroneously identified as “Native American spirits” should be viewed as outdated and offensive by Hollywood as Blackface. And yet, here we have The Darkness, a film where Kevin Bacon’s son steals a painted rock from a Native site, drawing the wrath of “The guardians of their spirit world” down on his family. Of course, there isn’t a single Native actor or actress visible in the trailer (actress Ilza Rosario would appear to be playing someone of Native heritage in the film. She’s from Cuba, FYI), and the apparition probably bears as much resemblance to anything from any actual Native culture as I do to Katy Perry. This is, by all appearance, a film about a happy, white suburban family threatened by an outside force labelled as culturally “other”, to the point that we’re even assured that “the god you might be familiar with cannot help you now”. Yeah, you don’t need to look very hard to figure out that this was probably a bad idea.
While The Darkness will probably turn out to be as offensive and downright racist as it appears, there’s a (very) small chance that we might at least get some decent scares out of it. One recurring visual of black handprints appearing against a wall after an “under the bed” fake-out is at least visually striking. But if we’re being honest, the scariest thing about The Darkness will probably be that a movie like this can still get made.
What do you think? Are we over-reacting? Take a look at the trailer for The Darkness and let us know.