Jaume Balagueró's "Darkness" is yet another horror picture in which a typical-appearing family, seeking peace and tranquility in the countryside, moves into the gloomiest...

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Jaume Balagueró’s “Darkness” is yet another horror picture in which a typical-appearing family, seeking peace and tranquility in the countryside, moves into the gloomiest, most remote old house it can find, and then, when things start going bump in the night, it doesn’t move out no matter what.

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“Darkness”
with Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen and Giancarlo Giannini. Directed by Jaume Balagueró. 101 minutes. Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, intense terror sequences, thematic elements and language. Several theaters.

An English-language production made in Spain with an international cast, “Darkness” is trite and flat, despite the efforts of such well-known actors as Anna Paquin, Lena Olin and Giancarlo Giannini. The tag for “Darkness” is: “Some secrets should never come to light.” Well, some movies should never come to light, either, and “Darkness,” bearing a 2002 copyright, might well have been better left on the shelf.

Maria (Olin) and Mark (Iain Glen) and their children, Regina (Paquin) and Paul (Stephan Enquist), have settled into a large turn-of-the-last century house in a vaguely American Colonial Revival style — not the kind of structure one would expect to find about 10 miles from Barcelona.

Mark was born in Spain, but when he was a child, his mother took him to America after divorcing his father, Albert (Giannini).

They’ve left the U.S. seeking quieter surroundings for Mark, who has suffered from Huntington’s disease but is apparently in remission. The family has barely moved in when the electrical outages become daily occurrences for which an electrician can offer no explanation.

Mark becomes flooded with terrifying childhood memories, and Paul is plagued by the menacing ghosts of children about his age.

Naturally, the house turns out to hold terrifying secrets of an unspeakable evil.

Things get worse for the family, but so does the picture, which is too mechanical to be either persuasive or scary.

As Mark begins to crumble and Maria goes into seeming indifference or denial, Regina tries to hold the family together, digging into the history and mystery of the sinister house with the help of new boyfriend, Carlos (Fele Martinez).

Not helping matters is that after putting audiences through the most routine of thrills and chills, which no amount of dynamic editing can enliven, the relentlessly murky “Darkness” opts for a limp, open ending.