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Donnie Darko
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Donnie Darko (2001)

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Plot Summary:
"Donnie Darko is a disturbed adolescent from a semi-functional upper-middle class family. After escaping from near death because he hears the voice of a 6 foot tall bunny, Donnie is led by the bunny to create havoc that is both destructive and creative."

Reviewer: Tariq Rafiq @horrorasylum
Location:South Bucks, UK
Review Date: 16 August 2004 My Rating: out of 5


A film as dark as it sounds, as well as surreal. In describing it, it will sound completely strange and ridiculous. A teenager who has a schizophrenic disorder sees a guy dressed up in a large bunny-rabbit outfit who tells him to commit crimes.

This is a film about being a teenager and wanting to rebel, think differently and challenge the norm. Donnie is this guy who is seen as the outsider, who is continually challenging adult authority and views.

This is a hugely entertaining film that reminds us all of what it was like to be a teenager, wanting to change the world and never agreeing with the 'respected' or 'authority' viewpoint.

Patrick Swayze guest stars as an annoying motivational speaker who believes everything in life is motivated by either fear or love. Donnie's de-bunking of his beliefs, and the alternatives he provides, are priceless and worth the price of entry alone. Donnie, in his semi-delusional self, brings clarity and clear thinking to a world where political correctness and notions or the 'right' way to do things is severely flawed. He acts the way, and says what, he believes to be right, and also what the audience believe to be right.

This film has been a long time coming and had great word-of-mouth from other reviewers, so I was desperate to see it. It is well worth seeing, it combines humour with reality with surreal moments. A fun and interesting film that has had a lot of time and thought poured in to it.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 15 February 2004 My Rating: out of 5

Richard Kelly's masterpiece of cinema is rapidly making the transition from cult film to mainstream movie, thanks to Gary Jules cover of Mad World making it to the number one spot on the Christmas chart here in the UK.

The film centres on teen Donnie Darko and his 'emotional problems', as he tries to comprehend the strange occurrences in his life in 1980's America.

We join Donnie in the last 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds of........well, to say any more would ruin the story.

What I will say is that the film is a beautifully crafted dark piece of art, that was obviously a labour of love for Richard Kelly, and it shows!!

Besides the inclusion of an accomplished cast, we are treated to wonderful camera work and editing, and an amazing soundtrack that all compliment the first class performances from the wonderfully written characters.

I must stress that I am not a new fan of the film, as I had first seen it when it was released, long before I worked here at the Asylum. I did however find new passion for the film, thanks to my friend James, who like myself loves nothing more than to see a film that has so much heart behind it that it manages to stay with you.

In this day and age when studios churn out all sorts of CGI crap for kids to lap up, I applaud Richard Kelly for his vision and passion and I award him the highest reward that I can, a full five marks.

A modern day masterpiece!! Donnie Darko is not an easy film to fully understand, as it contains all sorts of secrets within it's world, but it certainly has the power to provoke thought and move it's audience and for that reason, it will stay with me forever.

Reviewer: John Dedeke @horrorasylum
Review Date: 21 March 2002 My Rating: out of 5

DONNIE DARKO isnít quite a horror movie. But, as many whoíve seen the film will tell you, itís not really a part of any exclusive genre. Part science-fiction, part teen drama, part David Lynch, itís one of the quirkiest and (in my opinion) coolest movies to come out of Hollywood in a while.

Describing DONNIE DARKO to someone who hasnít seen it is almost an exercise in futility, and would more than likely actually discourage one from seeing it rather than give the film a plug. After all, this is a film where a guy in a rabbit suit haunts a teenagers dreams -- all in complete seriousness.

I went into the film expecting something along the lines of LOST HIGHWAY or some of the other works of card-carrying cinematic weird-guy David Lynch, and while DONNIE DARKO does head into Lynch-territory here and there, the film is largely in a universe of its own. The film shifts gears repeatedly, which in a lot of movies would only serve to lessen its impact. In DONNIE DARKO, however, the tonal shifts and sudden unexpected (and seemingly unnecessary) developments all seem to work perfectly. Itís a story that doesnít really appeal to everyone, and yet at the same time just might be weird enough to interest anyone.

Donnie himself is an immediately compelling character -- heís not necessarily someone you love, but you can definitely identify with his lot in life trying to navigate the bizarre world of upper class America in the election-charged year of . All around Donnie are people who are just ever-so-slightly off-kilter: the vaguely anti-establishment English teacher (played by Drew Barrymore), the crazy lady who does nothing but continually though, as the supporting characters do exactly what theyíre supposed to do by giving Donnie something to play off of, shaping his environment and leading the film to its fairly shocking (yet completely necessary) conclusion.

Few recent films have tied so many bizarre elements together as DONNIE DARKO does. The very concept of the film itself might be enough to turn off casual viewers. Let the weirdness and seeming incoherence slide by you, however, and youíre likely to discover that you like the film, too - even if you donít understand it.

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