tek's rating: meh and a quarter

S. Darko (R)
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So, this came out in 2009, a direct-to-video sequel to the 2001 movie Donnie Darko. (I saw both movies for the first time in 2013, this one several months after I watched the original.) I knew that fans of the original mostly hated this movie (and the creator of the original had no involvement in this one). I was worried that I might end up liking this more than the original, considering I didn't like the original nearly as much as its die-hard fans do. But, I needn't have worried; now that I've seen it, I'll definitely agree that it's inferior to the original.

Anyway, it's set seven years after the original. In the first movie, Donnie Darko had a younger sister named Samantha, who was ten years old, I guess. She really was of very little importance to the plot. But she's the main character in this one. Rather amazingly, she's played by the same actress, Daveigh Chase, who's pretty much all grown up now. Sam and her friend Corey are basically two girls on a road trip, driving from Virginia to California, hoping to find work and start a new life. But their car breaks down outside a small town in Utah. They get a ride into town from a guy named Randy, and it's maybe gonna take a few days for their car to be repaired. So... Randy becomes their new best friend in town, but there are other locals of some importance. There's a preacher named John, and a nerd named Jeremy, and a war vet with post traumatic stress disorder named Justin (aka "Iraq Jack"). Several people have gone missing recently, and Justin is blamed for the abductions, though since there's no proof, no one does anything about it.

So... hmmm. Sam sleepwalks. And a dead version of her from the future appears to Justin, and saves him from being killed by a meteorite, for no apparent reason. (Although he just so happens to be the grandson of Roberta Sparrow, from the first movie.) Dead Sam also tells him that the world is gonna end in a few days (on the Fourth of July; in the original, the world was gonna end on Halloween, if I recall). And, um... various random stuff happens throughout the movie that doesn't really make sense, but the main points are that someone dies, but later time goes backward and someone else dies instead, but either way, bad things happen. And in the end, a third person dies instead of the first two. So bad things don't happen. It seems like this means the world isn't going to end, after all, but I have no idea why that should be the case. I also think this particular death renders the entire film pointless. (The same could be said of the original movie, but it just feels much more blatantly pointless, in this movie.) Meanwhile... there is a rather important side issue that was unsatisfactorily resolved in one of the timelines, but is not even remotely resolved in the final timeline. (At least, it didn't seem to me like it was, but... it's entirely possible that it will be more satisfactorily resolved, this time- offscreen. I just wish that was made more clear onscreen.) And there are probably other issues that I can't even begin to care about.

But whatever. It's not a terrible movie. At the very least, I can say Chase did some decent acting. And there was some decent music... I really enjoyed the inclusion of the song "Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe," by Whale. And a song by Dead Can Dance. And a song by Cocteau Twins. And seriously... the story didn't make that much less sense than the one in "Donnie Darko." Still, I have no expectation of ever watching this again, whereas there's a vague possibility that I might rewatch the original, at some point.


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