Despite the fact that “Donnie Darko” was one of the most imaginative, bold, exciting and talked about cult films of the last ten years, nobody really asked for a sequel. It was just that kind of movie – it said everything that it needed to say in one sitting. Heck, even Richard Kelly’s director’s cut that came around a few years later felt pretty superfluous. Nevertheless, the bean counters have won again, and so we have “S. Darko,” which is made by an entirely new set of creative folk yet stars Daveigh Chase, who played Donnie’s little sister, Samantha, in the original. Taking place seven years after the events of “Donnie Darko,” the sequel sees Samantha and her friend Corey (Briana Evigan, daughter of Greg) taking a road trip cross country, only to have their car break down in a crappy little town. There, all manner of weirdness surrounds them, most of it ripped directly from the original film. Tangent universes? Check. Roberta Sparrow’s time travel book? Check. Evil bunny mask? Check. A perverted motivational speaker? Check. Funny thing is, “S. Darko” finds absolutely nothing fresh or new to do with any of these ideas.
The movie is so reliant on the mythology set up in the original that it would make absolutely no sense if you haven’t seen the original, and yet because it brings nothing new to the table, fans of the original are bound to find it little more than a pointless exercise in commerce. It’s a shame about the screenplay, because most of the actors turn in pretty good performances, especially Evigan, whom I look forward to seeing more of in the future. Director Chris Fisher knows his way around the camera as well, and there are some really pretty pictures on display. And certainly any movie featuring music from The Cocteau Twins, Catherine Wheel and Dead Can Dance can’t be all bad, but it just so happens this one isn’t very good, either.