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S. Darko

DVD cover
Directed by Chris Fisher
Produced by Adam Fields
Written by Nathan Atkins
Starring Daveigh Chase
Briana Evigan
Ed Westwick
James Lafferty
Music by Ed Harcourt
Cinematography Marvin V. Rush
Editing by Kent Beyda
Studio Silver Nitrate Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release date(s) May 12, 2009
Running time 103 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4,000,000[1]
Preceded by Donnie Darko

S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale is a 2009 film, directed by Chris Fisher. It stars Daveigh Chase, Briana Evigan, and Ed Westwick. The film is the sequel to the 2001 cult–hit, Donnie Darko. The film was released straight-to-video on DVD and Blu-ray on May 12, 2009, in the US,[2] and on 6 July, 2009, in Europe.[3]



Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase) follows her rebellious best friend Corey (Briana Evigan) on a cross-country road trip from Virginia to California in an attempt to become professional dancers. Their dreams are cut short when their water pump blows outside of Conejo Springs, a tiny Utah town. Sam and Corey are saved by the town bad boy, Randy (Ed Westwick), who is passing by. He takes the two girls to the town to get their car repaired and then to the local motel where they meet the conspiracy-loving owner. He tells him of Billy Moorcroft, a boy that went missing. Samantha starts sleepwalking. The future version of her meets Justin (James Lafferty) at the windmill. She tells him that in 4 days, 17 hours, 26 minutes, and 31 seconds the world will end. Justin knows this and says, "She told me you would come".

The next morning, Samantha wakes up on a bus stop bench. A policeman finds her and tells her that there is a "pervert" wandering around town. He offers to drive her back to the motel but the two end up stopping at the site where a meteorite crashed. Samantha tells Corey that she doesn't remember what happened the night before.

The two girls obviously are short on money. They try to leave the local eatery without paying, but honest Samantha pays when her friend isn't looking. While at the Kozy Cafe, a science-loving geek, Jeremy (Jackson Rathbone) tries to talk about the meteorite with Samantha, who barely responds. Randy invites the two girls to a 4th of July party, where Corey gets drunk and Samantha encounters Jeremy again, who returns Samantha's money to her, saying that he wanted to pay for their meal for them. While she is talking with Randy and Corey, Samantha gets pushed in the pool by a jealous girl. She seems to float mindlessly in the water, seemingly unconscious for a minute or so.

Randy takes her into the house to dry off and he tells her of his brother who went missing and how hard it has been on his family. He makes a comment about Corey that Samantha dislikes and leaves suddenly. Future Samantha stands in the middle of the road and nearly gets hit by a car of speeding teenagers. Justin sees her and is entranced by her. Her ghost takes him to the local nondenominational church and commands him to burn it down using the same command that Frank gave to her brother; "Burn it to the ground".

The next morning, they find Justin's army dog tags in the ashes of the church. Samantha encounters Trudy at the local bank, who tells her of her love for Jesus. Samantha responds courteously. Next, she runs into Jeremy, who is beginning to show signs of radiation exposure. Subsequently, we see that Justin has begun work on forging a bunny-skull mask out of metal, saying he needs to help "his princess".

Samantha wanders the town and soon encounters Randy and Corey who drive by. Samantha complains about their lack of money, and how she wants to get out of the town. Corey seems irritated at this, claiming that she doesn't want to leave because they're "having fun". When Samantha says otherwise, Corey asks if Samantha has better things to do such as "trying to off herself again". Samantha is hurt by this and walks away. Randy encourages Corey to go apologize and she insults him by calling him the "small town drunk", so he kicks her out of his car. Corey calls Samantha's name as Randy begins to drive again. Suddenly, a car comes out of nowhere and collides with Randy's. When the crash is over, they see that he has run over Samantha.

Corey is full of anguish about her best friend's death. She goes through her things and finds The Philosophy of Time Travel by Roberta Sparrow as well as a paper that Samantha wrote as a child, as first seen in Donnie Darko, entitled The Last Unicorn. It tells of a princess and a boy named Justin. The boy in the red pajamas appears, commanding Corey to come with him in order to save Samantha. She tells him that she would do anything to bring back Samantha. She follows him to a cave where she gets sucked 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 when they stop, Corey is nicer to her. She tells her that she lied, that her dad, whom she said lived in Hollywood, didn't know anyone. She tells Samantha to get out of the town if she can. They smile at each other and Samantha backs away. Randy begins to drive again but the other car comes out of the clouds and crashes into Randy's car, killing Corey.

Samantha is devastated at Corey's death. She sees a dress in the window of the vintage shop Jeremy's parents own. It is the same gold ballgown she wears as Future Samantha. Jeremy sees her admiring it, but cannot afford it. He then tells her more about the meteorite he bought. Samantha notices tissue damage on Jeremy's left arm, when told about it, he quickly covers it up and calls it a rash. Randy stops by on his bicycle and tries apologise for his part in what happened. Samantha then seeks solace in Pastor John, who takes her to a movie theater. He makes sexual advances toward her and she responds by storming out. They cross paths with Trudy who denies to herself that anything suspicious is going on, but mentions that Pastor John's WWJD bracelet is missing.

Justin settles down on a hill as it becomes darker, wearing his "Frank" mask. There is a quick flash as future Samantha appears in front of the movie theater. The sign has changed from "TWELVE MONKEYS STRANGE DAYS" to "TEN SAM GET KEYYS N SAVE WORLD". The time decreases as it becomes closer to the world's end.

The next morning, Samantha wakes up on the hill where Justin is. He takes The Philosophy of Time Travel from her and explains that it was written by Justin's grandmother. He asks her to "show him how to do it" but she is puzzled at this. He tells her that he made his mask from a drawing of Donnie's that she showed him. She becomes creeped out by this. He says she told him "when she was dead". Samantha wanders off and finds a key on a WWJD bracelet on a rock. It is the same sort of bracelet the Trudy wears and that the Pastor offered Samantha. The key opens a nearby gate and when Samantha enters, she finds a rope that leads to the body of a dead boy, Randy's little brother. When she turns, the boy in the red pajamas is staring at her. She runs away.

She enters the Kozy Cafe and everyone applauds her. Everyone is proud that she found the bodies, although they assume that Justin is to blame. He soon enters, asking Samantha to "show him how" again. A policeman soon enters and kicks him forward before taking him into custody. She looks over and sees the Pastor staring at her.

That night, Samantha returns to her motel where she is greeted by the sight of the ball gown, a gift from Jeremy. He asks her to wear it to see the fireworks with him. She is reluctant but he eventually convinces her. They go to a remote location and begin to watch the fireworks. Jeremy suddenly sees the incoming meteorite but she doesn't. Jeremy becomes manic. Samantha notes that his rash has gotten worse and spread greatly. He is apparently suffering brain damage from prolonged radiation exposure. He knows that the world is going to end and he tries to kiss Samantha, who resists. He becomes angrier and angrier and eventually pushes her back roughly. Her head hits Justin's mask that's on the ground, a sharp horn impaling into the right side of her head, killing her.

Future Samantha, now identical to the other Samantha, visits Justin in jail. She offers him a glowing feather that has been recurring throughout the movie. Randy tries to find her as fiery parts of the meteorite fall from the sky. He finds her dead on the ground where Jeremy left her. Justin approaches and sees his mask. He picks it up and puts it on. Justin goes back in time. Justin is then seen climbing the windmill that was destroyed at the beginning. Samantha has not died, so Future Samantha never went out to the windmill and called Justin into the future. Justin believed that his death would prevent the series of events that would lead to the end of the world, so he chose to be obliterated by the meteorite rather than escape.

It is morning again, the morning after the first meteorite landing. Samantha and Corey visit the site of the meteorite crashing. The locals are saddened as they take away Justin's body from the site. Samantha, never having experienced the events after the meteorite crash, decides to go back to Virginia (on a bus labeled 404). Corey stays with Randy. As the film closes, it shows several people who have been (or would have been) affected by the events of the film. Billy is seen looking out from where he was hidden and as of yet, not rescued, although nonetheless sporting an immaculately clean pair of red pyjamas (he obviously had adequate facilities, if its any consolation), the motel owner is shown to now own the meteorite rather than Jeremy and starts to scratch his neck because of similar radiation exposure to Jeremy's, Jeremy who is seen to make his food in the shape of a rabbit in the cafe, and the woman in the cafe; all of these are shown to walk to a window and stare up at the sky.



Donnie Darko's writer and director, Richard Kelly, has stated that he has 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."[4] 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."[5]

This 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.[5] 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."[6] For inspiration he listened to electronic music like Clint Mansell's score for Requiem for a Dream, and he hopes his score will be both "surreal and psychedelic just like the movie."[7] S. Darko was filmed in Coalville, Utah and Magna, Utah.


To promote the movie a viral marketing campaign was launched consisting of three YouTube videos.[8] The first is footage from a surveillance camera showing a dumpster falling from the sky and crushing a child. The second video is that of a conspiracy theorist expressing his beliefs that falling metallic objects that come from the sky, apparently without any rational explanation, that crush on human beings resulting in their death are "Artifacts" from parallel universes that accidentally made contact with our main universe. He believes that unless something is done to prevent this when the two universes meet again further down in time, both of them will be catastrophically destroyed. 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 actually one of the main events that happen in the feature film. The third video is a response to the creator of the previous video by a young girl. 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" that was featured in the original movie. She then proceeds to show him another link between several of these catastrophic events; the hole that opened on the ground from the impact of the falling dumpster, appears to have a similar shape to a drawing of Frank's mask retrieved from the psych file of Donnie Darko. A hunk of twisted, wrought-iron metal pulled from the wreckage of the windmill that was destroyed by the meteor shower in Conejo Springs has the same shape as well.


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".[9]

The Washington Post gave the 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".[10]

None of the seven reviews indexed by Rotten Tomatoes were favorable, resulting in a score of 0%.


Bloody-Disgusting reported that 20th Century Fox started working on developing a second sequel to Donnie Darko.[11] The article claims that Richard Kelly may have some involvement with this. Kelly has recently debunked the rumor that he is or will ever be involved with any sequels to Donnie Darko.[12]

S. Darko director Chris Fisher when asked about a sequel replied:[13]

I have no idea, nobody's approached me about it. [S. Darko] needs to reach a new teen audience and it needs to satisfy the audience that already exists. If it does those two things then I think Fox might want to continue the franchise. If people keep seeing these movies then they'll keep making them. It's as simple as that.


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