Darkness Falls – 20 Years Later


Darkness Falls – The Tooth Fairy Horror

On the 24th of January 2003, Darkness Falls was released in the United States. For some reason outside of Canada, the rest of the world didn’t get this movie till later in the year, with my own UK having to wait till the 9th of May. Darkness Falls was released by Sony Pictures, with Lionsgate Home Entertainment bringing it to audiences at home.


The cast included a relatively unknown in the leading role. Cheney Kley had only previously appeared in Legally Blonde and a couple of guest appearances on TV before Darkness Falls. The biggest credit post Darkness Falls was a recurring role in The Shield before his tragic death in 2007.

Emma Caulfield is the biggest draw for the movie when it was released. Like many of her fellow Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast mates, they started turning up in movies. This was Emma’s first attempt to make a big impact. She has continued to act since despite never finding a role as big as Anya in Buffy and being a guest star in many popular television shows through the years.

Among the most notable members of the cast, we have an early role for Wolf Creek’s Kestie Morassi. Emily Browning also gets one of her first roles as a younger version of Caitlin, she has clearly been the star who went onto achieve the most.


Jonathan Liebesman is the director of Darkness Falls, this was his feature film debut. This opened the door to Jonathan getting the chance to direct The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, one of the very movies that performed better in terms of profit than Darkness Falls.

Following that was his biggest disappointment in The Killing Room. However, this led to his last three movies all with bigger production budgets. Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). The three movies all did well at the box office, proving that Jonathan Liebesman could direct movies towards a profit.

Jonathan has since dropped back into the TV world, first with a couple of episodes of The Shannara Chronicles. More recently Jonathan directed four episodes of the video game TV show Halo for Paramount+.


Darkness Falls follows a legend about the small town of Darkness Fall. Matilda Dixon a widow from 1836, became close with the children of the town, giving them gifts when they lost their teeth. This gave her the nickname ‘Tooth Fairy’, however, when she gets burnt in a house fire, she must wear a mask. When local children went missing, the town blamed Matilda, exposing her face and hanging her for witchcraft. After her death, the children were found but the town became cursed with stories of missing children.

The story goes, when a child loses their last baby tooth, Matilda will come for them. if they laid eyes on her, she would take them and murder them.

Years later, Kyle Walsh loses his remaining baby tooth, placing it under his pillow like his previous teeth. As the night unfolds, he hears noises around his room before laying eyes on Matilda. Screaming out of his room, he hides in the bathroom, while his mother investigates. Only for her to be taken by Matilda and Kyle blamed for her death. This leads to him getting a reputation in the town, forcing him to move away into foster homes.

Years after Kyle leaves Darkness Falls, his schoolgirl crush Caitlin calls him out of the blue asking for advice with her own child Michael. She is surprised to discover that Kyle is still scared of the dark as he warns her that Michael has become the latest target of Matilda. Kyle must face his past to save Michael and put an end to Matilda’s reign of terror over the town.

Box Office

Darkness Falls was produced with a budget of $7 Million, which is slightly higher than you would expect from a horror movie nowadays. It made a great return on investment, with figures around $47 Million in Worldwide Box Office sells.

Darkness Falls was behind other horror movies with much bigger budgets that included: Dreamcatcher, Jeepers Creepers 2, Final Destination 2, Underworld, Identity, 28 Days Later, Gothika, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the biggest box office horror movie of the year Freddy vs Jason ($82 Million).

This made Darkness Falls the third most profitable horror in 2003, behind Texas Chainsaw Massacre and 28 Days Later. Both of these were made with a similar budget, which seems to prove a changing point for horror movies.

Critic Response

Darkness Fall wasn’t received very well by the critics, on Rotton Tomatoes, the movie has a score of 9%. Even the positive reviews call the movie a mixture of silly and disposable. While the negative ones aren’t shy at holding back the fact, they didn’t find it scary, the characters being dull and lacklustre to mention a few words. On Metacritic, Darkness Falls fails to get a single positive rating, has 8 mixed and the remaining 19 being negative.

What are your memories of Darkness Falls?

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