Darkness Rising is definitely one of the more problematic horror movies we’ve reviewed lately. One character is the saving grace of the movie – and probably not who you’d think!

In theory, Darkness Rising could definitely work. But what they’ve done with this production simply doesn’t work.

Tara Holt plays the lead character, Madison, with Bryce Johnson as her boyfriend, Jake. I usually have no problem with either of them, but their characters are extremely boring in Darkness Rising.

It’s far too obvious that Tara Holt is supposed to be the eye-candy damsel in distress. And yet it’s passed off as somehow being empowering.

It’s insulting, is what it is. Both to the characters and the audience.

And why is the 40-year-old Bryce Johnson still playing characters with girlfriends in their 20s?

He probably got the part because they want his name recognition, but he is so much better than this.

Everyone should count their lucky stars that Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul on Arrow) is also in this movie. Katrina Law plays Izzy, who is Madison’s best friend. In fact, they grew up together, when Madison came to live with Izzy’s family.

Darkness Rising review - Katrina Law

But don’t even get me started on how this timeline works. One minute Madison was very young when her mom died, the next moment they were talking about the awesome leather jacket her mom had.

And it’s been 25 years since everything happened, but somehow Madison is also supposed to be maybe 28 at the most.

A study in foreshadowing

If you’ve watched a few horror movies – or any movie, really – then you probably know the concept of foreshadowing.

You know when someone casually mentions that another character has a certain skill? And then law-and-behold this particular skill turns out to be the one thing that will save the day?

Well, you’ll know the key elements of the plot in Darkness Rising pretty early on. The foreshadowing is anything but subtle in this one. Unfortunately, it takes forever to get there and there are so many goofs on the way there.

Darkness Rising 2017 review - Bryce Johnson, Tara Holt, Katrina Law

The story is simply bad

Look, I don’t like bashing movies. I really don’t. For me, it’s all about doing a review to give people an idea of the movie. Not to be this know-it-all critic, who finds fault with everything.

However, I find it very hard to be positive when it comes to this one. The story is just not good enough. And the execution is pretty awful.

Basically, Darkness Rising is the kind of horror movie that gives horror movies a bad name. If this is what people think a horror movie is, then I wouldn’t like horror movies either.

I can only hope director Austin Reading has something different in mind. And writer Vikram Weet must have had a different vision. I haven’t seen anything either of them has worked on in the past, so I don’t know if this is representative of what they can deliver.

But if this is it, then I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to invest in these productions.

Darkness Rising is in theaters and on-demand on June 30, 2017.


Director: Austin Reading
Writer: Vikram Weet
Cast: Tara Holt, Katrina Law, Bryce Johnson



Nearly murdered as a child by her mother, a woman returns to the house where her mom went mad.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
Latest posts by Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard (see all)