The Darkness Shines a Light on the Anasazi Riddle [Review]
Peter Taylor (Kevin Bacon), his wife Bronny and their two children return to Los Angeles after a fun-filled vacation to the Grand Canyon. Strange events soon start to plague the family, including young son Michael's increasingly erratic behavior. The Taylors learn that Michael brought back some mysterious rocks that he discovered inside a cave. Unfortunately, something followed them home as the clan now find themselves in a battle with a supernatural force that preys on their worst fears.
First and foremost this is not a blood and guts horror film, it's not a poltergeist film and it's not a creepy ghost film. This is a horror film that touches on a very real event in early American history, long before Europeans arrived, and is more sinister than other films in the genre.
The film focuses on the Anasazi, which is a Navajo for "Ancient Enemies", but are also referred to as "Ancient Ones" by their offshoot tribe more commonly know as Pueblo Indians. Now, at the end of the 13th century some unknown cataclysmic event forced the Anasazi to flee their cliff houses and move southeast toward the Rio Grande and the Little Colorado River. But what happened has been the greatest puzzle facing archaeologists who study the ancient culture, however, archaeologists have new understandings about why the Anasazi left, and the picture that emerges is dark. It includes violence, warfare and even cannibalism among the Anasazi themselves.
This is where the film draws it inspiration, from a society that quickly fled without rhyme or reason. In the film Michael falls into a cave and collects 5 stones that have animal inscriptions on them, unknown to him these stones are there to keep the fifth dimension (for all intents and purposes it is a version of Hell) sealed. However in the actual mythology, the Navajo who settled the area erected Cat Totems to keep away black birds, magpies, which are capable of opening the gateway.
Even with this slight deviation, which makes for a more interesting story, the film does a good job of bringing this mythology to life. The scares are more subtly played and come when you least expect it. Often it's what you don't see that has the greater impact.
The story of the evil spirits is strong, but the ball gets dropped on the secondary storylines for the rest of the family, ranging from adultery, alcoholism and bulimia.
For those that enjoy genuine, based in reality scares this is right up your alley. But if you want over the top gore or a shot-for-shot remake of Poltergeist than this isn't for you.
Rating: 6.5/10 Stars
Rich Stile @TheDevilsEyes1