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Film Reviews Review: Canadian thriller Darken has big ambitions but lacks star power

Bea Santos in Darken.

Shaftesbury Films

  • Darken
  • Directed by: Audrey Cummings
  • Written by: R.J. Lackie
  • Starring: Bea Santos and Paul Amos
  • Classification: 14A; 82 minutes

rating

The premise of the new Canadian fantasy thriller Darken is epic in scope: Behind our world operates a mysterious deity known as Mother Darken. As various factions fight to control this all-powerful force, one woman from our reality (Bea Santos) stumbles into the entity’s confusing, maze-like world, with the fate of various planes of existence resting in her hands. But this being a Canadian production with no real star power or intellectual property attached, the only truly epic thing about Darken is its ambitions – those hoping for a film that looks above and beyond the word “scrappy” will be in for a disappointment. Others, however, should find some twisty diversions in director Audrey Cummings’ genre lark, even if its world-building feels far too dense and its sound stages far too budget-friendly. Put your faith in Santos’ credible lead performance and Cummings’ ambition and enthusiasm for the material, though, and there are some bright spots in the dark, here and there.

Darken opens June 29.

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