|Directed by||Chris Fisher|
|Produced by||Adam Fields|
Ash R. Shah
|Screenplay by||Nathan Atkins|
by Richard Kelly
|Music by||Ed Harcourt|
|Cinematography||Marvin V. Rush|
|Edited by||Kent Beyda|
Silver Nitrate Productions
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox Home Entertainment|
|May 12, 2009|
In Donnie Darko, the main character of the same name is a young man troubled by hallucinations of doomsday who ends up being killed by a mysterious falling jet engine. S. Darko is set seven years after Donnie's death. His sister Samantha Darko is beset by sleepwalking, hallucinations and apparent time travel as she tries to unravel a small town's mysteries.
Seven years after the death of Donnie Darko, a young man troubled by hallucinations about doomsday, his now 18-year-old sister Samantha Darko joins her best female friend Corey on a road trip from Virginia to California. When their car breaks down in a tiny Utah town, they are helped by the town's "bad boy", Randy. The pair meet eccentric locals and learn that a local boy, Billy Moorcroft, has gone missing.
Samantha is still struggling with her brother's death and is sleepwalking. While wandering, she meets a homeless veteran with PTSD named Justin (James Lafferty). As the pair sit atop a windmill, she tells him that the world will end soon, but he knows this already. The next morning she wakes up outside, and sees that a meteorite has crashed into the windmill.
A series of mysterious encounters and events follows. A geeky guy, Jeremy (Jackson Rathbone), is interested in buying the meteorite, and chats with Samantha. Randy tells of how he misses his younger brother who has disappeared and is feared dead. During a strange episode, Samantha takes Justin to the local church and commands him to burn it. The next day, police find Justin's dog tags in the ashes.
Samantha meets Jeremy, who is showing signs of radiation exposure from the meteorite. Justin is forging a bunny-skull mask to help "his princess." Samantha tells Corey she wants to get out of town but the two argue bitterly. Samantha runs away, and she is knocked down in a car crash.
Anguished about her best friend's death, Corey goes through Samantha's effects, including a book about time travel and a story Samantha wrote as a child about a princess and a boy named Justin. After a strange boy commands Corey to come with him to save Samantha, she follows him to a cave into a portal that takes her back in time.
Everything moves backwards to when Samantha is walking down the road. Corey and Randy drive up to Samantha again and Corey is nicer to her. This time, Corey is struck in a car crash. Samantha is devastated by Corey's death. After another sleepwalking incident, she sees a dress in a shop window that she knows from her sleepwalking visions.
Samantha wakes up from sleepwalking and finds she is outside with Justin. He tells her the book about time travel was written by his grandmother and says that he made his bunny skull mask from a drawing by Samantha's deceased brother. Wandering, Samantha finds the bodies of two dead boys, Randy's little brother and the missing local boy who appeared to Corey, Billy Moorcroft.
The townspeople assume that Justin is responsible for the deaths and police take him into custody. That night, Samantha gets the dress as a gift from Jeremy and he asks her on a date. On a hilltop, they see glowing tesseracts falling from the sky. He becomes manic and violent with Samantha, pushing her so hard that she falls and lies motionless.
Samantha visits Justin in jail. Randy tries to find her as fiery tesseracts fall from the sky. Justin puts on his mask, which makes him go back in time. He climbs the windmill that was destroyed at the beginning. Justin believes that his death will prevent the series of events that will lead to the end of the world. He stays on the windmill and is killed by the meteorite.
It is now the morning after the meteorite landing again. Samantha and Corey visit the site and find the locals are saddened as they take away Justin's body. Samantha, never having experienced the events after the meteorite crash, decides to go back home while Corey stays in the small town with Randy.
Donnie Darko's writer and director, Richard Kelly, has stated that he had no involvement with S. Darko. He stated "To set the record straight, here's a few facts I'd like to share with you all—I haven't read this script. I have absolutely no involvement with this production, nor will I ever be involved." Chris Fisher, director of S. Darko, noted that he was an admirer of Kelly's film, and that he hoped "to create a similar world of blurred fantasy and reality."
The film was an independent production of Silver Nitrate Productions, and not by Newmarket Films (which produced the original film)—Newmarket had gone dormant by this time. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, who had the distribution rights to the first Darko, won the right to release S. Darko domestically on home video.
Filming for S. Darko began on May 18, 2008. The crew used the high resolution digital Red One cameras. Musician Ed Harcourt signed to provide the score for the film after he "read the script and loved it". For inspiration he listened to electronic music like Clint Mansell's score for Requiem for a Dream, and he hoped his score would be both "surreal and psychedelic just like the movie". S. Darko was filmed in Coalville, Utah and Magna, Utah.
The first video is footage from a surveillance camera, showing a dumpster falling from the sky and crushing a child.
The second video is from a conspiracy theorist expressing his beliefs that metallic objects which—with no apparent rational explanation—fall from the sky and lethally crush people are "Artifacts". "Artifacts", he explains, are from parallel universes that have accidentally made contact with our main universe. He believes that when the two universes meet again further down in time, both of them will be catastrophically destroyed, unless something is done to prevent this. Examples of such "Artifacts" are the jet engine that killed Donnie Darko, a manhole that decapitated a young girl, the aforementioned dumpster, and a meteor shower over Utah that resulted in the death of a local man. The meteor shower is one of the main events that happen in the movie.
The third video is from a young girl responding to the creator of the previous video. She accuses him of being a fraud and a hack who doesn't understand what he's talking about, because he stole his theories from Roberta Sparrow's book, The Philosophy of Time Travel, which was featured in the original movie. She then shows him another link between several of these disastrous events: the falling dumpster left a hole in the ground with a shape apparently similar to a drawing of Frank's mask retrieved from Donnie Darko's psych file; and the same shape also appears in a hunk of twisted, wrought-iron metal pulled from the wreckage of the windmill that was destroyed by the meteor shower in Conejo Springs.
The film was largely panned by critics, often citing its muddled storyline, one-sided characters, and superficial dialogue. The A.V. Club gave the film an F, noting that the sequel took "a few simple, surface elements from Donnie Darko and fail[ed] spectacularly in trying to create a franchise".
The Washington Post gave a somewhat better review, calling it average but stating that "The Darko faithful are better off skipping the movie entirely and devoting their attention to the making-of featurette and the commentary track" and that they "have little faith that the moviegoers who once fell in love with Kelly's unique take on teen alienation will see S. Darko as anything more than a very minor pop cultural footnote."
In an interview with PopMatters magazine journalist J.C. Maçek III, Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly said regarding S. Darko, "I hate it when people ask me about that sequel because...I had nothing to do with it. And I hate it when people try and blame me or hold me responsible for it because I had no [involvement]. I don’t control the underlying rights to [the Donnie Darko franchise]. I had to relinquish them when I was 24 years old. I hate when people ask me about that because I’ve never seen it and I never will, so… don’t ask me about the sequel...Those people are making lots of money. They’re certainly making lots of money."
- "IGN Article". IGN. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- "Screen Daily: S. Darko". Screen Daily. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- "Ed Harcourt Set To Score Donnie Darko Sequel". TheTripWire.com. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
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- "The third chapter in the S. DARKO viral". FangoriaOnline.com. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
- "S. Darko review". The A.V. Club. May 13, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
- Chaney, Jen (May 12, 2009). "DVD Review – S. Darko, Sequel to Donnie Darko". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Maçek III, J.C. (3 April 2017). "Mainstream Darko: Director Richard Kelly on Building His Own Sandbox". PopMatters.
- "S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
- "S Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale (Ws Dub Sub Ac3) [Blu-ray]". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 22, 2009.
- Squidgy from Otley. "S. Darko – A Donnie Darko Tale (2009) DVD". Lovefilm.com. Retrieved January 5, 2011.