A few months ago both Katie from “The Stories That Really Mattered” and myself expressed our shock at the news there had been a sequel made to Donnie Darko. A brilliant film that obtained instant cult status when it came out in 2001. The problem is the film is so complete and insular that there is no need and little room for a sequel. Not expecting the follow-up to be any good I watched it anyway out of what can only be described as morbid curiosity.
Set seven years after the original film S. Darko follows the first rule of a direct to DVD sequel. Take a minor character from the original and promote them to be the star whist making a convenient excuse for the lack of returning stars (not too difficult in this case as some of the original characters didn’t survive the first film). In this case the minor character is Samantha Darko, the ten year old (at the time now in her late teens) sister of Donnie. Struggling to come to terms with the death of her brother Samantha is distant and cold towards people. She is on a road trip to California with her best friend until they become stranded by a broken water pump in their car. They find themselves in a small town suffering because of the disappearance of some young children, for which they blame a slightly crazed Gulf War veteran. During this time Samantha and the aforementioned war veteran start to experiencing similar things to what her brother Donnie experienced in the time leading up to his death.
The film recaptures the look and style of the original film and the now grownup Daveigh Chase does a good job reprising her role as Samantha. So the film is really good? Sadly not, it is really, really bad! Where Donnie Darko has a brilliantly ambiguous story S. Darko is an incoherent mess. The film has nothing new to say and doesn’t expand on the original story. There is also a really annoying hole in the plot that no attempt is made to explain; Samantha is aware of Roberta Sparrow and The Philosophy of Time Travel, how is this possible? Donnie was given the book during the original timeline seen in the film. He then goes back to before this point and is killed therefore in the existence that Samantha is now living Donnie did not live to be given the book.
So is it worth watching the film? The problem is finding an audience. If you haven’t seen Donnie Darko (you really should see Donnie Darko by the way it is utterly brilliant) there is no reason to see this film and you probably wont understand what is going on. If you didn’t like Donnie Darko (what is wrong with you?) you won’t like this. If you liked Donnie Darko this will really annoy you. So the simple answer is, I cant see any good reason for anyone to watch this film other than morbid curiosity. If you resist the temptation you will be better for it!