I’m going to be completely honest with you here. The first time I was told about Donnie Darko, I wasn’t entirely convinced it was a real film. Even after Googling it and finding a complete IMDB page and a selection of clips on YouTube, I was still largely under the belief that it was some kind of overly-elaborate and not particularly effective prank that someone was playing on me. It’s a really weird film, guys. It’s weird. It is, more than almost any other film I’ve never seen, clearly written by a group of lonely people on every single kind of drug, sitting in a dark room shouting a list of random words that had just come into their heads, and compiling them into one horrifying fever-dream of a film.
The main aspect of Donnie Darko, of course, is that terrifying seven-foot rabbit. You know, the one that looks like someone half-chewed Thumper and then vomited him back up onto a canvas of teenage angst and depression. Despite having never having seen the film, I am oh-so aware of that demon-bunny, because it’s following me. Not in the way that it followed Maggie Gyllenhaal’s wee brother around in the film, but in the way that, every Halloween, at least nine people are dressed as it. It’s the indie equivalent of the Scream mask, and it creeps the fuck out of me. Someone needs to have a serious words with the guys who wrote that film to let them know that bringing a monstrosity like that into the world is not okay. It’s not okay at all.
Satanic bunny aside, the main gist of the film’s plot seems to revolve around your stereotypical emo kid, except that he lives in a world where the entire universe is on extremely powerful hallucinogens, while all the time ‘Mad World’ is playing in the background. I’m told there’s something about invisible worms coming out of people’s stomachs, which I can only assume is something to do with wormholes, and only Donnie can see them because he’s a special little snowflake. Time travel is also prominently featured, something which I’m slightly weary of, as, with a few notable exceptions, time travel has a tendency to make everything shit.
For the majority of the film, Donnie seems to just be wreaking havoc left right and centre at the command of his internal bunny rabbit. He floods his school and burns down Patrick Swayze’s house and is generally an awful little brat. It’s okay, though, because he’s damaged or misunderstood or something.
My main question regarding Donnie Darko is, where is social services in all of this? When a teenage boy suddenly takes to starting fires and floods and hallucinating the most nightmare-inducing rabbit-monster, and his mother decides to wander off and leave him to be mental by himself for a few days, someone should step in and question her parenting skills. He had some kind of therapist at least, right? Please tell me the boy had a therapist. I don’t care how “misunderstood” or “special” he is, Donnie Darko is unstable and needs medical help.
From all my intensive research and listening into teenagers’ conversations, the only concrete conclusion I can draw about Donnie Darko is that it is a film that creates sociopaths. No confused teenager is going to watch a film that is this level of insane and creepy, and then just go and drink a cup of tea and do their homework. No, they’re going to watch this and start setting fire to the pets of neighbours and loved ones. People have spent years blaming violent films and Call of Duty for the increase in teenage violence, when all the time they should have been blaming something much more surreal and infinitely more terrifying. We need, as a society, to stop wasting our time trying to ban violence in video games, and turn our attention to a far greater danger to our children, and to civilisation as we know it. We need to destroy that awful fucking rabbit.