Directed by Jaume Balagueró, starring Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Giancarlo Giannini, Fele Martinez and Stephen Enquist.

Here's a thoroughly unconvincing psychological thriller which has more holes in its plot than Tiger Woods plays in a week.

An American family move to Spain and take up residence in a creepy old house. It turns out their new abode has a dark and secret history, which the newcomers know nothing about. As luck would have it, they've moved into the property at just the wrong time and a strange supernatural event, that is linked to a solar eclipse, spells disaster for them.

Fans of this genre could conceivably have fun picking out which movies director Jaume Balagueró has rehashed various scenes from. However, if you are an avid fan of films such as 'The Shining', 'Poltergeist' or indeed any other famous film from this category, then a viewing of this is infinitely more likely to boil your blood than split your sides.

For patrons not particularly fussed about having their pulse sent racing, then this movie, particularly in its early stages, is palatable enough. It starts off well and holds the attention for at least the first 20 minutes. However, from there on in it spirals downhill, getting progressively more ludicrous.

There are just so many things that don't add up. Simple stuff like how everyone speaks English when it's based in Spain is not even addressed. Also, Regina (Paquin) the daughter and Maria (Olin) the mother have a really stormy relationship but no hint of a reason is ever given for their constant bickering. Iain Glen's character Mark (the father) is appallingly underdeveloped. Anyone who's seen 'Song for a Raggy Boy' can vouch that Glen can act, but he is given absolutely nothing to work with here. The list of errors and omissions is a long and damning one.

The cinematography is probably the best thing 'Darkness' has going for it, but the persistent cutting to the swings in the garden is ridiculously overused and the time wasted on those shots could easily have been used to explain at least some of the far too many things that are left to the audience's imagination.

Séamus Leonard