S. Darko is a sequel to Donnie Darko. Whether you regard Donnie Darko as a cult film or incomprehensibly pretentious, what would be fairly much agreed is that it doesnt need is a sequel. That does not seem to deter Chris Fisher, previously the director of two true-life serial killer films with Nightstalker (2002) and Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders (2006), and subsequently of the quite good psycho Samuel L. Jackson film Meeting Evil (2012). The only returnee from Donnie Darko is Daveigh Chase who played the younger sister of Jake Gyllenhaal and has now grown up as a teenager herself (where she at least gives a decent performance). S. Darko was universally hated by fans of Donnie Darko.
I am afraid to say that I failed to get S. Darko either. It proves just as baffling and cryptic as Donnie Darko. Which one supposes is at least to be complemented in that it is following on faithfully from its predecessor. On the other hand, Chris Fishers mood is different. There is none of the darkly satiric bite that Richard Kelly gave the original where you felt that he was launching into his own childhood with relish. Nor are there any of the wild and mind-boggling concepts that Kelly toyed with, Without either of these, that only leaves a series of strange and inexplicable happenings that seem at best to be trying to copy Donnie Darko.
As S. Darko opens, you keep trying to compare it to Donnie Darko to get a reference point on what is going on. You are looking for clues where the film is going before you realise that it doesnt seem to have much of one itself, it is only trying to replicate the original but slightly differently. The opening with the girls on a road trip and their venture into the town is vague and meandering. Chris Fisher tries to play with some of Richard Kellys ideas and comes up with a mix involving Daveigh Chase being killed, Briana Evigan winding time back and having to trade her life, and a climax with the town in danger from falling tesseracts (!!!) come through a wormhole, which somehow involves Daveigh Chase being killed a second time and then going back in time to warn Iraq Jack.
There seem weak attempts to connect up with the first film making Iraq Jack into Roberta Sparrows grandson, Daveigh Chase having the book about time travel and sketches of the bunny from the first film, she causing a church to be burned down for no other reason it seems than that Donnie conducted acts of vandalism in the first film. Iraq Jack makes a metal bunny costume we have no clear idea why, he just seems to do so because there was a bunny costume in the first film.
The story is filled with strands that head nowhere there is a plot about someone in the town killing children but this is soon forgotten about and never mentioned again; Jackson Rathbone is infected with a strange disease after touching the meteorite but this is of no relevance to the rest of the film. Like Donnie Darko, there is little point in trying to make sense of any of it.