Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase) follows her rebellious best friend Corey (Briana Evigan) on a cross-country road trip from Virginia to California in an attempt to become professional dancers. Their dreams are cut short when their water pump blows outside of Conejo Springs, a tiny Utah town. Sam and Corey are saved by the town bad boy, Randy (Ed Westwick), who is passing by. He takes the two girls to the town to get their car repaired and then to the local motel where they meet the conspiracy-loving owner. He tells him of Billy Moorcroft, a boy that went missing. Samantha starts sleepwalking, she becomes possessed. The future version of her meets Justin (James Lafferty) at the windmill. She tells him that 4 days, 17 hours, 26 minutes, and 31 seconds the world will end.
The next morning, Samantha wakes up on a bus stop bench. A policeman finds her and tells her that there is a “pervert” wandering around town. He offers to drive her back to the motel but the two end up stopping at the site where a meteorite crashed. Samantha tells Corey that she doesn’t remember what happened the night before.
The two girls obviously are short on money. They try to leave the local eatery without paying, but honest Samantha pays (witha twenty dollar bill that was made with the new coloring and ink, not time period) when her friend isn’t looking. While at the Kozy Cafe, a science-loving geek, Jeremy (Jackson Rathbone) tries to talk about the meteorite with Samantha, who barely responds. Randy invites the two girls to a 4thof July party, where Corey gets drunk and Samantha encounters Jeremy again, who returns Samantha’s money to her, saying that he wanted to pay for their meal for them. While she is talking with Randy and Corey, Samantha gets pushed in the pool by a passing girl. She seems to float mindlessly in the water, seemingly unconscious for a minute or so.
Randy takes her into the house to dry off and he tells her of his brother who went missing and how hard it has been on his family. He makes a comment about Corey that Samantha interprets incorrectly and leaves suddenly. That night, Samantha becomes possessed again outside Randy’s house. Future Samantha stands in the middle of the road and nearly gets hit by a car of speeding teenagers. Justin sees her and is entranced by her. She takes him to the local nondenominational church and commands him to burn it down.
The next morning, they find Justin’s army dog tags in the ashes of the church. Samantha encounters Trudy at the local bank, who tells her of her love for Jesus. Religion seems to be more and more attractive to Samantha. Next, she runs into Jeremy, who has begun to develop a sickly rash on his forearm. Subsequently, we see that Justin has begun work on forging a bunny-skull mask out of metal, saying he needs to help “his princess”.
Samantha wanders the town and soon encounters Randy and Corey who drive by. Samantha complains about their lack of money, and how she wants to get out of the town. Corey seems irritated at this, claiming that she doesn’t want to leave because they’re “having fun”. When Samantha says otherwise, Corey asks if Samantha has better things to do such as “trying to off herself again”. Samantha is hurt by this and walks away. Corey then sees an apparition of Billy in the rearviewmirror, beckoning her. When she turns around, he’s vanished. Randy encourages Corey to go apologize and she insults him by calling him the “small town drunk”, so he kicks her out of his car. Corey calls Samantha’s name as Randy begins to drive again. Suddenly, a car comes out of nowhere and collides with Randy’s. When the crash is over, they see that he has run over Samantha.
Corey is full of anguish about her best friend’s death. She goes through her things and finds The Philosophy of Time Travel by Roberta Sparrow as well as a paper that Samantha wrote as a child, as first seen in Donnie Darko, entitled The Last Unicorn. It tells of a princess and a boy named Justin. The boy in the red pajamas appears, commanding Corey to come with him in order to save Samantha. She tells him that she would do anything to bring back Samantha. She follows him to a cave where she gets sucked into a portal that takes her back in time. Everything moves backwards to when Samantha is walking down the road.
Corey and Randy drive up again and when they stop, Corey is nicer to Samantha. She tells her that she lied, that her dad, whom she said lived in Hollywood, didn’t know anyone. She tells Samantha to get out of the town if she can. They smile at each other and Samantha backs away. Randy begins to drive again but the other car comes out of the clouds and crashes into Randy’s car, right where Corey is sitting.
Samantha is devastated at Corey’s death. She sees a dress in the window of the vintage shop Jeremy’s parents own. It is the same gold ballgown she wears as Future Samantha. Jeremy sees her admiring it. She then seeks solace in Pastor John, who takes her to a movie theater and tries to teach her the ways of God. He begins to feel up her leg, so she runs away. Trudy sees this and believes that it isn’t his fault, its Samantha’s. She mentions that Pastor John’s WWJD bracelet is missing.
Justin settles down on a hill as it becomes darker, wearing his “Frank” mask. Sam falls asleep and is taken over by Future Samantha. There is a quick flash of her standing in front of the movie theater whose sign has changed from “TWELVE MONKEYS STRANGE DAYS” to “TEN SAM GET KEYYS N SAVE WORLD”. The time decreases as it becomes closer to the world’s end.
The next morning, Samantha wakes up on the hill where Justin is. He steals The Philosophy of Time Travelfrom her and she finds that it is written by Justin´s grandmother. He asks her to “show him how to do it” but she is puzzled at this. He tells her that he made his mask from a drawing of Donnie’s that she showed him. She becomes creeped out by this, because she does not remember telling him this, as he says. He says she told him “when she was dead”. Samantha wanders off and finds a key on a WWJD bracelet on a rock. It is the same sort of bracelet the Trudy wears and that the Pastor offered Samantha. The key opens a nearby gate and when Samantha enters, she finds a rope that leads to the body of a dead boy, Randy’s little brother. When she turns, the boy in the red pajamas is staring at her. She runs away.
She enters the Kozy Cafe and everyone applauds her. Everyone is proud that she found the bodies, although they scapegoat the deaths to Justin. He soon enters, asking Samantha to “show him how” again. A policeman soon enters and takes him in handcuffs. Samantha tries to tell them that it is not Justin’s fault, that the bracelet belonged to Trudy. Trudy slaps her, showing her her own braclet – on her arm. She looks over and sees the Pastor staring at her.
That night, Samantha returns to her motel where she is greeted by the sight of the gold ballgown, a gift from Jeremy. He asks her to wear it to see the fireworks with him. She is reluctant but he eventually convinces her. They go to a remote location and begin to watch the fireworks. Jeremy suddenly sees the incoming meteorite but she doesn’t. Jeremy becomes manic. Samantha notes that his rash has gotten worse and spread greatly. He knows that the world is going to end and he tries to kiss Samantha, who resists. He becomes angrier and angrier and eventually pushes her back roughly. Her head hits Justin’s mask that’s on the ground, a sharp horn impaling into the right side of her head.
Future Samantha, now identical to the other Samantha, visits Justin in jail. She offers him a glowing feather that has been reoccurring throughout the movie. Randy tries to find her as fiery parts of the meteorite fall from the sky. He finds her dead on the ground where Jeremy left her. Justin approaches and sees his mask. He picks it up and puts it on. Justin goes back in time.
It is morning again, the morning after the first meteorite landing. Samantha has not died, so Future Samantha never went out to the windmill and called Justin into the future. She and Corey visit the site of the meteorite crashing. The locals are saddened as they take away Justin’s body from the site because he has been killed by the meteorite. Samantha, never having experienced any of it, decides to go back to Virginia. Corey stays with Randy. As the film closes, it shows several people who have been (or would have been) affected by the events of the film. The boy in the red pajamas is seen looking out from where he was hidden and as of yet, rescued, the motel owner is shown to now own the meteorite rather than Jeremy and starts to scratch his neck (whether this is because he is developing the same rash as Jeremy or just coincidence is yet unconfirmed)and the woman in the cafe; all of these are shown to walk to a window and stare up at the sky.
At first glance, S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale, appears to be some studio’s attempt to make a franchise out of a the cult favorite Donnie Darko, which incidentally left it open for a sequel. If you believe that is the purpose of this film, then you would more than likely be correct.
For a direct-to-DVD film, this isn’t half bad. As a matter of fact, I think it would have worked in theaters. Having said that, let’s make it clear that this thing isn’t the edgy genius that its predecessor was. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of Home Alone 2, which was more or less the same film as the original, just change the setting and a few characters.
So, we pick up where Donnie Darko left off, only its 7 years later and Donnie’s little sister Sam has taken his death so hard that she has run away. If I remember right, in the first film, she was a bit on the rebellious side as it is, so add teenage angst and rebellion plus years of having to cope with her brother’s death and all types of questions from the town, and you can imagine the state of mind this chick is in.
It is rare when the same actor/actress plays the same role in a film after such a long period of time between films, especially if they were really young, but Daveigh Cahse reprises her role as Samantha. Boy, has she grown up.
Briana Evigan plays Samantha’s friend Corey, with whom she has embarked on a corsscountry trip to become strippers with. Whereas Sam is the tortures soul type. Corey is the rebellious rocker chick type. Someone says it at one point in the film, but the two of them remind me of Thelma & Louise (don’t ask me which is which).
Just like the first film, this one is full of weird trippy visuals and can be a bit confusing if you don’t keep up. The difference between the two, though, is that the first one is an original idea while this one just seems to be a copy. The filmmakers were obviously trying to appease the fans of the original, and I appluadthat, but at the same time they could have found a good balance of new stuff to go in with the stuff to make the fans happy.
The men in the film all get a bit of a bum rap. One is the town drunk, another is a creepy science guy who is being affected by the presence of the meteorite, another is a farmer from New Mexico, and then there’s the solider straight from Iraq.
I despise and detest remakes with a passion. However, this was not a remake, but rather a sequel. It doesn not stack up to its predecessor, but it is excellent for a direct-to-DVD film. The film’s major downflaw, is that it takes the plot and story of the first film, mutate it, and return to the films with and try to pawn it off as their “original masterpiece” . Such a shame. This is a really good picture, though, and despite what you may think, it is worth giving a chance.
3 out of 5 stars