DARKNESS DESCENDS (2014)
aka 20FT BELOW: THE DARKNESS DESCENDING
Directed by Marc Clebanoff
Underneath the streets of New York, deep in the underground tunnels resides a fierce, deadly gang led by the mysterious Angel. Living not far above them in the subway tunnels are a homeless society who love the freedom of being off the grid but they can feel something evil is brewing as Angel’s plans not only threaten their lives but those above ground too.
Apparently inspired by true events, DARKNESS DESCENDS takes an idea of people rising up against the system in an anarchic way but never seems to actually execute a coherant story about it as we discover over 96 minutes.
One of my favourite actors, Danny Trejo, stars as feared gangleader Angel, but with a weak script and screenplay that never seems to go anywhere, the nature of his character’s threats seem pointless, proving that not even a skilled actor such as Trejo can save a bad film.
Most of the action in the movie takes place in the tunnels, with the appearance of Chelsea (Kinga Phillips), an amateur filmmaker who’s recording the stories of the tunnels’ residents, stirring up tensions between the two underground clans. Also living in the tunnels is ex-police officer Jake (Frank Krueger) who has history with Angel yet has never even met the man. Now living life as a hobo, he finds himself stuck somewhere between the homeless underground society and the police station, with many of his fellow homeless folk seeing him as the law and order in the tunnels. Neither Chelsea nor Jake have any personality to their characters, so when the plot tries to sell the viewer a developing love story between the two, it’s pure laughable, especially as Chelsea’s presence in the underground society only seems to have been three days.
With the film never properly venturing above the surface, the action which takes place down below seems limited, especially with the use of small sets and close-up camera angles. The plot aspires to be something akin to V for Vendetta, with its ideas of fighting back against the rich controlling the people, but the film’s plot never gets out of the starting block and leaves the viewer with a jumbled, unimpressive, slow-moving movie with characters they couldn’t care less about.