Donnie Darko (2001) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Donnie Darko (2001) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on January 19th, 2021 | Movie Review | Sci-Fi, Mind Bender, Psychological, Teen

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It's about a mentally ill teen encouraged to go on a crime spree by Frank, his imaginary giant bunny friend.

Donnie Darko was directed by Richard Kelly (who also directed The Box) and stars Jake Gyllenhaal (from Morbius and Velvet Buzzsaw), Jena Malone (from The Neon Demon and The Ruins), Patrick Swayze and Drew Barrymore (from Doppelganger and Cat's Eye).

What would you do if you knew the future?

Donnie Darko Review

Donnie Darko is a pseudo-horror with an all-star cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, Patrick Swayze and even Seth Rogan. It's more of a psychological mind bender than a horror and is more about mental illness than anything else. 

The movie starts off with a beautiful view of some mountain scenery at dawn. Donnie is off his meds and wakes up from sleeping in the middle of the street next to his bike. He wakes up, smiles and casually bikes home. We get to meet his affluent family and get to see all of the crazy kids at his exclusive private school. Then one night he gets up to do some sleep walking around the neighborhood. He wakes up the next morning laid out in a golf course and walks home to find that a jet engine fell out of the sky and crashed right into his bedroom. Had he not been sleepwalking he would have been crushed. 

After this bizarre accident he starts to hallucinate visions of the future, wormhole things and a dude named Frank in a bunny suit. Frank tells him the world is going to end in exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds (on Halloween) and encourages him to go on a petty crime spree around town.

Donnie Darko is a quirky but powerful movie that sits with you for days, for a number of reasons. It's a slow psychedelic mind bender with a lot of twists, turns, vibrant characters and a fantastic soundtrack. It's unlike any other movie I've seen. It's a bizarre and thought provoking movie that most have to see two or three times to truly appreciate. And because it's so mind bendy I can't really get into it more without risking spoilers.

What I can tell you is to avoid the director's cut like the plague. My latest rewatch was the director's cut on Blu-ray and it seriously took away from the impact of the movie. There are so many superfluous scenes that only work to slow things down and even make it boring at times. There's also some cheesy special effects added for some reason and the soundtrack was toned down which I thought also lessened the impact. So if possible, watch the original theatrical version.

Worth Watching?

Definitely, Donnie Darko is a must see. 

Donnie Darko Review (2001) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

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