It’s difficult to make sequels of certain movies, especially movies which don’t need a sequel. Movies that had their own magic, where everything came together to create a special moment, for example, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial. Then there are movies that seem like a sequel could be made, to continue the adventures of their characters, yet sometimes even those sequels prove tricky (Blues Brothers 2000 springs to mind).

Donnie Darko is more like the former. Richard Kelly’s cool cult phenomena offered an original and disturbing vision of suburban life, the terror behind the white picket fence, capturing the isolation and desperation of teen angst. A tale of alienation, being invisible, yet desperately wanting to be known; of parents not knowing they exist as they search for a place to belong and tendrils of connection. All layered with a healthy serving of science fiction fable.

S. Darko takes place seven years after the events involving Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase, reprising her role from the original film) and her brother Donnie. Seven years to end up in essentially the same place. Lost, alone, struggling her way through life and its meaning. She joins her best friend Corey (Briana Evigan) on a road trip to California or to otherwise find themselves, as Sam dreams of becoming a dancer. Their car breaks down in a small Utah town, filled with eccentric characters and religious fanatics. Of course a meteor hits and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to prophecies of the end of the world happening.

Make no mistake, the only members from the original team behind Donnie Darko present for this debacle are Chase and a producer. All other caretakers of the vision are perfectly absent, leaving us with a poorly written, cliché strewn, tedious mess of a movie that barely makes sense when it’s not delivering banality at a record clip.
“We have the same holes in our hearts, you and me.” –Randy (Ed Westwick)

In the “Darko” universe there are the “manipulated dead” (Frank the Bunny in Donnie Darko and Samantha in S. Darko), someone whose future deceased self communicates with the receiver, prompting them to follow the destiny set forth for them; and “living receivers ” (Donnie in the first film and Iraq Jack (James Lafferty) in this one). Between the time travel, wormholes, and connections to other realities or dimensions, especially set against the backdrop of religious fanaticism, one can’t help but wonder about how God fits into this space-time continuum.
“God has all the time in the world for you.” –John Mellit (Matthew Davis)

The idea of heaven –God space, His dwelling place, His dimension—sits opposed to our space in some people’s mind, not God’s location within our space-time universe. So when we talk about heaven, this pie in the sky when we die place, we think of a destination spot for the redeemed. We occupy earth space, our dimension of reality. Heaven is not just a future reality, but a present one, where we go to be with God where He’s always been. So does God space and our space intersect, if so, how, when, and where?

“But when I was your age, I experienced things that made me feel like God didn’t exist. Maybe you’ve experienced something like that too.” –John Mellit

Embracing the complexity of our reality, we have quasi-independent, mysterious overlapping dimensions. The two dimensions overlap and interlock in specific weighs as God intrudes or otherwise makes His presence felt. Abraham met Him, Adam walked with Him, He led the nation of Israel by pillars of fire/cloud, introduced Moses to Himself via a burning bush (holy ground), and was worshiped through the Temple. God operate under certain parameters, acting from within creation through His Presence, the Torah (the Bible), and Spirit. Ultimately, Jesus is the intersection: in him, heaven and earth intersect.

No one quite found their footing in S. Darko, from the writer (Nathan Atkins ) to the director (Chris Fisher) to the actors/actresses. It’s not like the core audience of Donnie Darko longs for a movie that makes sense, but there at least has the be the semblance of logic rather than events playing out for their own sake and characters that are weird for weird’s sake. Unfortunately, rather than re-create any of the magic of the original, this is a sequel best left forgotten. It’s more like they decided to re-tell the original movie in a less interesting way.