Danny Trejo is a man with a tremendous work ethic. His IMDB filmography shows that he’s one busy man and the sheer amount of films that he’s in means that not all of them can be winners. Darkness Descends isn’t one of his better efforts.
Trejo plays Angel, a feared Gang-lord (who appears to have about three gang members) living below the streets of New York City. Angel is abducting and killing people off the streets and no one can stop him but Frank Krueger’s Jake, a former cop who likes to hang-out with the homeless. Along for the ride is King Philips’ Chelsea, a filmmaker shooting a documentary on the city’s homeless situation.
Krueger wrote Darkness Descends and Philips produced it, so both have a vested interest in its success. The problem is: it’s not very good. The film feels like it was shot in an abandoned warehouse rather than a subway and the film never feels like it goes anywhere on a geographical level. Visually the film comes across as the pilot episode for a low-grade 1990s cable series, with mediocre acting to match.
Trejo seems to have little interest in spouting the film’s badly written dialogue, while Krueger comes across as a poor man’s Bruce Willis (he’s haunted by the death of his wife). Philips gets to deliver a bad monologue that explains why she’s running around the subway with a digital camera without ever feeling like a fully realised character.
Darkness Descends tries to throw in some social commentary and weighty ideas, but they all miss the mark. The film might have been a good idea, but Krueger’s script just doesn’t have enough nuance. In fact, the script just isn’t good. It’s good to see people going against the odds and trying to bring movies to the screen but it’s a shame when they turn out like Darkness Descends.