DVD Review: S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale

The story continues… through her eyes, when S. DARKO emerges onto Blu-ray Disc (BD) and DVD May 12 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Daveigh Chase (Donnie Darko, The Ring) stars in the riveting continuation to the smash cult hit Donnie Darko. Co-starring Ed Westwick (TV’s “Gossip Girl”), Briana Evigan (Step Up 2: The Streets) and Jackson Rathbone (Twilight), this edgy and intriguing psychological thriller takes you through the wormhole into a world where time means nothing and the end is near!

S. Darko is “supposed” to be the sequel to Donnie Darko. However, Richard Kelly, the writer and director of the original wants to make it clear that he has no involvement with this film whatsoever. He stated, “To set the record straight, here’s a few facts I’d like to share with you all — I haven’t read this script. I have absolutely no involvement with this production, nor will I ever be involved.”

It’s a good thing he got that disclaimer out there, because I’m not sure what Chris Fisher (director) and Nathan Atkins (writer) thought they were doing here. Having watched this movie with no expectations myself, I was completely lost and confused, and I cannot honestly tell you what this film is about without having to read a synopsis. Donnie Darko, while many found it confusing too, is a brilliant film that provoked thought. S. Darko is at the other end of the spectrum only proving that great films should be left alone and not tainted with a sequel.

Fisher was a fan of the original film and had commented that he wanted “to create a similar world of blurred fantasy and reality.” Well, he definitely creates lots of blurred fantasy and reality, but it’s not similar at all. In fact, there are only two good things I can say about this film. There are some absolutely beautiful shots (Cinematographer Marvin V. Rush – you did well!), and then there were quite a few pretty faces. Daveigh Chase (who actually reprised her role from Donnie Darko as Samantha) is quite stunning (and should probably quit acting in favor of modeling), and Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick continues to cast an incureable spell over the female viewers. Don’t worry Ed, all stars of popular teen TV series have to make at least one bad horror/psycho-thriller flick, it’s your rite of passage. Fans of Twilight will be excited to see Jackson Rathbone who plays a seemingly harmless nerd with a bad rash. We forgive him for this one though since he’s got some more creditable roles coming up, and with Twilight‘s success – we expect to see more doors open up for the actor.

In attempts to explain this movie to you, I can tell you that time means nothing and the end is apparently near. Though the only end you’ll be hoping for is the end of the film.

The back of the DVD gives us a bit more insight though explaining that seven years after Donnie’s death, Samantha (his little sister) is on the run… apparently from herself and her past. With her friend Corey (Briana Evigan) along on the run, they end up stranded in a desert town where they are picked up by Randy (Ed Westwick). Randy seems to want to help them fix up their car but is clearly in no rush. Just as their stay in the little town starts, they witness a meteorite crash which the film synopsis “claims” actually “fractures time”. Sure. That’s exactly what I got from it.

So now Samantha must rely on frightening visions in order to overcome her own dark destiny and set time back on course. Which is another thing that the back of the DVD claims… but in the first alternate reality, you see it’s not really up to her (for obvious reasons), but to her friend. Samantha doesn’t seem to realize anything is off-course… or the fact that everyone around her seems to have something wrong with them – from Twilight‘s rash boy to psychologically disturbed Iraq guy.

Between the inaccurate description of the film on the back of the DVD and the laughable adjectives such as “riveting”, “edgy”, and “intriguing” – I seriously doubt if the people at FOX even watched this movie. I envy them.

Special features on the Blu-ray title are slim – as they should be for a direct to DVD film of no substance. There is a commentary with the filmmakers, deleted scenes (should have deleted more), and a featurette called Utah Too Much.

Save yourself from wasting 103 minutes you’ll never have back. Even if you’re a fan of Jackson Rathbone and Ed Westwick… they both have better work you can watch them in. And for the Donnie Darko fans, you won’t be able to turn back time and do things differently after you watch this. Abort.

Review by Emma Loggins

Grade: F
Official site: http://www.sdarko.com/
Buy on Amazon: S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale


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