Watched November 3, 2014
Starring: Daveigh Chase, Briana Evigan, James Lafferty, Ed Westwick
I know we all were waiting for cult hit Donnie Darko to have a sequel. Especially since Donnie dies at the end of the movie, but time travel is involved so that open up for a lot of new stories. I'm always looking for more contemporary bad movies so I was excited to hear about S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale. We now get a story of Donnie's younger sister Samantha, who charmed us as a member of Sparkle Motion in the first film.
Sam (Daveigh Chase, reprising her role) is now 16 and her family was torn apart by Donnie's mysterious death. She and her friend Corey (Briana Evigan) run away and hit the road heading to California. Their car breaks down in Arizona, where they meet Randy (Ed Westwick) the local mechanic. It's a couple days before the 4th of July, 1995. Randy lets them know it will be a couple days to get the part that he needs to fix their car. The girls scrape together some money to stay at the local motel in the small town of Conejo Springs.
Sam, like her deceased brother, is plagued by sleepwalking. She often wakes up in unpredictable locations like park benches or the middle of the road. As soon as the girls got into town, the local vet Iraq Jack was saved from being hit my a meteorite. He says that a vision told him to move from the windmill where he was sitting. There is also a child kidnapped stalking the area, as Randy's younger brother was taken only days ago. A local church burns down mysteriously, and Iraq Jack is blamed. Sam gets to know the young minister who had served some jail time but is now repentent and married to Trudy (Elizabeth Berkeley). Corey parties with the locals but Sam isn't into it, she wants to get out of town as soon as possible.
While riding around with Randy, Corey gets in to a fight with Sam when they see her walking on the side of the road. Sam walks off as Randy's car is hit. Somehow Sam is killed but Randy and Corey are okay. Corey is devastated but she gets a chance to go back in time so that she dies instead of Sam. Now Sam is sad that Corey is dead and wants to go back, but she keeps moving forward to some extent. Iraq Jack is given the same vision of the Frank bunny mask that Donnie saw, but now Jack remakes it in metal. Sam is wooed by the local nerd Jeremy (Jackson Rathbone) who has developed a strange rash from the meteorite that almost killed Iraq Jack. While sleepwalking Sam is led to an abandoned mine which is locked up. She randomly finds the key and inside finds the dead bodies of the children that had disappeared in town. The clues lead back that is was Trudy but again Iraq Jack is blamed. Sam knows the truth but no one listens to her. That night is the 4th of July and Jeremy takes Sam up to hill for a fireworks picnic. Jeremy tries to kiss Sam, but she resists and falls down where she is impaled by a piece of the new Frank bunny mask. With Sam now dead, this kicks off a crazy meteor shower and times travels back again. We start completely over with Iraq Jack getting hit by the meteorite that he was mysteriously saved by. Corey and Sam end up Conejo Springs again but instead of any of them dying, Sam decides to take the bus home.
I loved Donnie Darko when it came out. I was living in New York and they had regular midnight showings that I would go to often. It's been a couple years since I saw it but it flows together even if all the time travel stuff isn't perfectly clear. It also has a sense of humor. This one is just terrible, Samantha Darko doesn't have any motivation and her visions are just confusing. Plus she isn't necessarily the main character. I'm a Richard Kelly fan, I love Southland Tales so think about that. He had nothing to do with this project.
The 1995 styles are totally wrong. Sam mostly just walks around in wispy white camisoles and tiny shorts. At the beginning, Sam and Corey both look like they're headed for Coachella not Lollapalooza where they should have been going. It runs too long without a clear focus and it's already a confusing story since it involves time travel and visions of the future past. I would have preferred a feature length movie about Sparkle Motion. This movie is more art house weirdness than fun cult movie, nothing great happens, but there is magical feather if you're into that sort of thing.