ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Darkness Falls (2003), PG-13
Analysis Date: January 24, 2003
CAP Score: 21
CAP Influence Density: 2.04

MinMax: -63

Darkness falls (YEAR) CAP Mini-thermometers

ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

DARKNESS FALLS (PG-13) -- Yessiree, this is a PG-13 alright.

Production: Blue Star Productions, Distant Corners Entertainment Group Inc. Distribution: Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios Director(s): Jonathan Liebesman Producer(s): Lou Arkoff, Derek Dauchy, Irene Dobson, John Fasano, John Hegeman, William Sherak, Jason Shuman Written by/Screenplay: Story: Joseph Harris. Screenplay: John Fasano, James Vanderbilt, Joseph Harris Cinematography/Camera: Dan Laustsen Music: Brian Tyler Film Editing: Timothy Alverson, Steve Mirkovich, Alan Woodruff Casting: Maura Fay, Lynn Ruthven Production Design: George Liddle Art Direction: Tom Nursey

The story begins in the city of Darkness Falls with Kyle Walsh (Joshua Anderson, later Chaney Klev) extracting his last baby tooth with blood streaming out of his mouth. Kyle is well beyond baby teeth time and looks to be at least 13 years old. The next paragraph helps identify Kyle's approximate age as well. That paints the beginning of the picture as stupid, but it doesn't stop there. Stupid reeks throughout the film. It even has an elevator working during a hospital power outage.

Visiting Kyle in his bedroom after dark is likewise 13 year old Caitlin Green (Emily Browning, later Emma Caulfield). After an invite from her to go swimming - in the dark - Caitlin starts planting wet ones on Kyle and says "The first time should not taste like blood. It should be sweet." And, of course, the longing looks of a type of hunger filled the faces of both.

Many moons ago, an elderly lady named Matilda performed as the tooth fairy (the original name for this movie). She would give kids a cookie when they brought her their lost baby teeth. One day she was hideously burned in a house fire. She began wearing a porcelain mask to prevent anyone from seeing her mercilessly disfigured, burned face. Her burns were so bad that her skin became photosensitive and she could not bear any light. That is Matilda in the poster artwork.

Soon, two young boys disappeared and Matilda was blamed, lynched and hung. Not long after that, the two boys showed up unharmed and fine. Matilda placed a curse on [Deut. 18:10 - 12, Eccl. 8:8 ] the town and became night terrors for anyone who looks at her. As a ghost, Matilda begins visiting Kyle because his last baby tooth was placed under his pillow. That's what she did. Visited kids who placed their last baby tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy. By the way, she killed them, too. The kids, that is. And anyone else in Darkness Falls. Indeed, when Kyle's mother tried to assure him there were no bogey men coming to get him by going into Kyle's room, the female version of the bogey man killed her. The townspeople blame Kyle for killing his mother.

At best count, Matilda kills ten people. Including all but one of the Darkness Falls police department and a number of hospital personnel. Not one of which put his/her last baby tooth under his/her pillow. Quite diversified, isn't she? She collects baby teeth and kills people. Tut, tut! We must be tolerant of people of diverse lifestyles, mustn't we?

Twelve years later, Caitlin's young brother, Michael Greene (Lee Cormie) develops the night terror's and Caitlin enlists the aide of Kyle. The rest of the plot is cardboard horror and unholy playtime. Cormie may very well have been the best performer in the show, much like Haley Joel Osment was in The Sixth Sense. Just as Osment led veteran Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, Cormie led Klev and Caulfield in Darkness Falls.

The MPAA says Darkness Falls is PG-13 because of gruesome images. Truly there were some gruesome images, but nothing is said about the nineteen uses of foul language including the most foul of the foul words [Col. 3:8] and God's name in vain with the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. There is no nudity but with the "wet T-shirt" there might as well have been -- the actions that caused the "wet t-shirt" are clearly manufactured to get some "skin" into the film. Some guy in a bar spilled a drink on only the chest of a woman wearing a thin top then she stands up and it snugs to her anatomy like a coat of paint [**, 2 Sam. 6:20]. But sexual issues and even use of the three/four letter word vocabulary are not the biggest theft of scoring points. Violence, murder and unholy/evil issues are. With a final score of 21, it is sort of like what does it matter that there is no raw nudity in the movie? Of the six CAP invetiagation areas, the only one in which the area score fell in the range earned by PG-13 movies (55 to 67 out of 100) was Sex/Homosexuality. Each of the other five investigation area scores fell in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies (54 and below). Two of them were zero. Yessiree, this is a PG-13 alright. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will explain.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Deut. 18:10 - 12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
  • Eccl. 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver [release] those that are given to it [those who practice it].
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [vain: shav' {shawv}; false, emptiness, nothingness, lying, worthlessness (of conduct)]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. ** "Nakedness" (display of nudity) is spoken of as dark, restricted, undesirable, shameful, etc. 47 times in the KJV from Genesis to Revelation.
  • 2Sam. 6:20 (KJV) Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! (NIV) When David returned home to bless his household, Michal, daughter of Saul, came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!"

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.


    Darkness Falls (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • scene of hanging
  • bloody sputum
  • explosive startles with strong fright factor, at least 17
  • bully assault, repeatedly
  • beating
  • photos of murder gore
  • injury gore
  • firearm threat
  • car collision with passenger ejected through windshield
  • police brutality
  • attacks by an unholy character, at least 12
  • fear factor programming, repeatedly
  • gruesome burned face gore, repeatedly

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 17 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • young girl sneaking in young boy's bedroom after dark
  • wet T-shirt
  • ghosting of female anatomy through thin clothing
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts and/or ghosting
  • excessive cleavage

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness
  • bar
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • witchcraft curse
  • graphically unholy presence, repeatedly
  • morbid drawing collection
  • flash images of evil, repeatedly
  • one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 4 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • graphic murders, repeatedly, at least ten

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    NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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