S. Darko: Does It Live Up To Donnie Darko?

S. Darko: Does It Live Up To Donnie Darko? When the film Donnie Darko was first released back in 2001, it garnered a cult following. The story focused on a troubled teenager, Donnie Darko (played by Jake Gylenhaal) who begins seeing a six foot tall rabbit named Frank, who exhibits a strange control over him. The plot of the film was really too complex to be easily summarized and usually needed multiple viewings to get even a mild understanding. I myself have seen the film at least ten times and am still finding new surprises.

Understandably, when it was announced in 2008 that a sequel, entitled S. Darko, was being made, many fans were immediately skeptical as to if it would be able to follow up such a great movie. This thought ran through my head but I decided to give the sequel a chance, thinking that it might be an okay film.

I am here to tell you that I was entirely wrong.

S. Darko was originally slated to be released in theatres but was then released straight to DVD in May of 2009. Usually, when a studio does this, it's not a good sign regarding the quality of the movie and S. Darko is no exception.

S. Darko takes place seven years after Donnie's death and follows his younger sister Samantha (Daveigh Chase), who is now eighteen years old, and her best friend Corey (Brianna Evigan) as they travel across the country to California. Their car breaks down in a small town in Utah and they end up stranded while bad boy Randy (Ed Westwick) procrastinates fixing their vehicle. There, Samantha begins to have strange dreams and she sleepwalks, appearing to a Iraq war veteran named Justin (James Lafferty) and telling him that the world will end in four days.

S. Darko takes all the good bits of Donnie Darko and tries to make a new movie out of them. However, the ending result is not an excellent film but feels more like a fan made feature. This may have something to do with the fact that Chris Fisher, director of the first film, had nothing to do with the sequel but nevertheless, the film does not stand on its own. Some sequences actually feel like you're watching a deleted scene from the original film. The plot is essentially the same, complete with the world ending, wormholes, time travel and even Frank, although he's represented by a metal mask.

The acting does not redeem the film either. For most of the movie's running time, Daveigh Chase looks like she's struggling to show emotion. For the most part, her and Brianna Evigan spend most of their time running around in skimpy dresses and shorts and alternately time traveling. They also share a line that is easily the worst in the film; it's only said two or three times but each made me wince. A hint is that it uses the word immaculate. The supporting characters are by far the most interesting. Jackson Rathbone, as local science nerd Jeremy, is adorable and plays his role as the awkward geek perfectly, although he goes through a transformation at the end that is a little strange.

So, for those Donnie Darko fans out there who have been contemplating seeing the movie, save yourself the pain. S. Darko is not worthy of bearing the moniker "a Donnie Darko film." This isn't a sequel to Donnie Darko; it's a rip-off, sucking all the parts out of the original movie that made it brilliant and dumbing them down. Save yourself the one and a half hours. Just don't bother.

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