With the blockbuster summer months of 2016 bound to be dominated by comic book tentpole movies (Batman V Superman, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse), we can still count on the traditional counter-programming to appear each weekend and siphon off some audiences from the superheroes. Year after year, the horror genre continues to prove itself as resilient as any, with low-budget offerings like the Insidious series and The Conjuring racking up impressive profits at the box office.
This year will see a number of highly anticipated horror offerings, including The Conjuring 2, Leatherface, Rings, and Amityville: The Awakening. Set for a release on Friday, May 13th is The Darkness, the latest from producer Jason Blum's Blumhouse (under its "multi-platform" shingle Tilt) and directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek). The Darkness follows a family who return from vacation at the Grand Canyon to find that their son - played by Gotham's David Mazouz - has brought back some kind of supernatural possession. Watch the trailer above.
The Darkness did not ping our radar when it comes to the most anticipated releases of the genre and could generate some confusion since it has no connection to the glam-rock band or the comic book series from the Image Comics or the video game of the same name. Judging from the trailer, The Darkness will attempt to spin a Native American-based supernatural possession story into some standard horror fare.
Still, the talented Mazouz - a standout as a young Bruce Wayne in Gotham - is surrounded by a strong cast, with Kevin Bacon (Cop Car) and Radha Mitchell (London Has Fallen) playing his very terrified parents. It's possible that some compelling performances could elevate the material into something special, though the premise at first glance seems one-note and too familiar to stand out.
There are a number of other, more interesting horror movies coming this year, and given the lack of significant marketing for The Darkness and that perhaps damagingly generic title, there may not be much of a draw for audiences beyond fans of the genre and Gotham viewers curious to see mini-Batman act blank-eyed and evil. Releasing the film on Friday the 13th is more of a gimmick than a show of confidence by the studio, but the only other notable release that weekend will be Oliver Stone's Snowden, a film aiming for a significantly different demographic. Expect The Darkness to make its budget back, but it remains to be seen if the film can excite the genre's hardcore fans.
The Darkness will hit theaters on Friday, March 13th 2016.