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Film / Darkness Falls

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"Over 150 years ago in the town of Darkness Falls, Matilda Dixon was adored by all the children. Whenever one of the children lost a tooth, they would bring it to her for a gold coin, earning her the name, "The Tooth Fairy". One day, a fire tore through her home on nighthouse point, leaving her face horribly scarred. Matilda's burnt flesh was so sensitive to light, she could only go out at night, always wearing a porcelain mask. One day, two children didn't come home. The townspeople blamed Matilda. They hanged her. Since then, there are some who believe that Matilda still visits the children of Darkness Falls on the night they lose their last tooth, seeking her vengeance upon those who lay their eyes upon her face, fulfilling her curse, 'What I took before in kindness, I shall take forever in revenge.'"

A 2003 horror movie originally inspired by The Tooth Fairy, a short film by comic book artist Joe Harris, but due to Executive Meddling, ended up being completely different from the original concept, with even the design of the monster going through several changes. It follows the story of Matilda Dixon, who was left horribly disfigured in a fire, only allowing her to go into the sunlight whilst wearing a mask. After being executed by the townsfolk, her ghost seeks out revenge, killing everyone who lays eyes on her face.

Dark Horse published a one-shot Prequel Comic Book, Darkness Falls: The Tragic Life of Matilda Dixon, telling Matilda Dixon's origin.

Not to be confused with When Darkness Falls, a Swedish anthology drama film by Anders Nilsson

This film provides examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: Considering Matilda is now a simmering volcano of pent up Unstoppable Rage that will attack and kill anyone who lays eyes on her, it’s fair to say that any sanity she may have had was lost long ago.
  • Bar Brawl: Though technically it happens outside the bar.
  • Berserk Button: Seeing Matilda's face is what guarantees death. And then, destroying her mask.
  • Big Bad: Matilda Dixon, the vengeful spirit known as"The Tooth Fairy".
  • Death by Pragmatism: The instant someone suggests that they can just leave town because they're safe in the car, the Killer Tooth Fairy smashes in through the window and drags him off.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In a meta sense. The film opens with narration describing the backstory of the Tooth Fairy, but then, almost immediately after that, we get Kyle giving a class presentation on Matilda Dixon that gives us the exact same information.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The townspeople that kickstarted the damn story: While understandably scared that two kids went missing and knowing Matilda to be close to the children, their first thought was to go on a witch hunt and kill her. It makes it worse when the next day, the two kids turned up with no injuries.
  • Eye Scream: During the final showdown, Matilda attempts to jam her thumb into Kyle's eye socket.
  • Facial Horror: Matilda's face was horribly burnt, and it is shown in full during the climax.
  • Friend to All Children: Matilda, when she was alive and got her name as the "Tooth Fairy" due to giving kids gold coins when they lost a tooth.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We never actually see Matilda in action. Just the aftermath.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Everyone in town except Caitlin believes Kyle murdered his mother. Then, when the bully from the bar is discovered dead, the police immediately blame Kyle.
  • Hollywood Psych: So you have a kid who's so terrified of darkness that he tries to commit suicide. Do you give him medication? Have a therapist talk to him and try to work out where the phobia came from? Let him sleep with the light on? Nope, you stick him in a sensory deprivation chamber to make him "face his fears head-on!" Even though All Therapists Are Muggles, actual desensitization therapy involves starting small and slowly building up to a more extreme representation of their phobia.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Seriously, who decided to name the town "Darkness Falls?"
  • Murder Into Malevolence: Matilda Dixon was a kindly widow who gave the children of her town gifts in exchange for their teeth. However, the fact she wore a mask and only came out at night (due to suffering severe burns from a fire that burned down her home that left her sensitive to light) made the adults suspicious, and when two children disappeared, they blamed her and promptly lynched her... before the kids returned on their own, unharmed. As she died, Matilda swore vengeance, and afterwards haunts the town of Darkness Falls as a murderous ghost, killing anyone who sees her, seemingly at whim.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer shows clips that were never shown in the movie. Some of those clips even explained some of the unexplained plot points in the movie.
  • Nighttime Bathroom Phobia: The prologue is A Minor Kidroduction of Kyle (The Hero), who is afraid of going to the bathroom at night (and darkness in general). When his mother tries to reassure him that everything is safe, that's when Matilda Dixon (a psychotic ghost) attacks and kills Kyle's mother. For further irony, Kyle saves himself by running into the bathroom because Dixon is Weakened by the Light.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Matilda. Justified, as she is a ghost.
  • Police Are Useless: Among other things, they immediately arrest someone for murder based entirely on the fact that he's on antipsychotic medication.