'Into the Dark: Pooka': Is the upcoming episode of Hulu's anthology horror a 'Donnie Darko' spin off?

While no major plot details have been revealed about 'Pooka', the presence of a demonic looking rabbit costume brings back memories of the Jake Gyllenhaal starring cult classic


                            'Into the Dark: Pooka': Is the upcoming episode of Hulu's anthology horror a 'Donnie Darko' spin off?

The first teaser for the next episode of Hulu's currently airing anthology horror series, 'Into the Dark' arrived last week in the form of a snippet amidst a commercial break. Viewers got a glimpse of a man in a creepy, oversized rabbit costume, with sinister stuff sparking off or revolving around the attire.

What we know is that according to the show's format, each monthly episode will center around a festival that signifies that particular month. Titled 'Pooka', the third episode from Jason Blum will be a Christmas horror.

Bordering on psychological levels of both horror and thriller, this episode shares quite a resemblance with 2001 fantasy cult-classic 'Donnie Darko'.

And no, that's not just in terms of the creepy costume-clad possible antagonist.

'Pooka' revolves around Wilson (Nyasha Hatendi) - an aspiring actor who arrives in a new town. He looks around for work but fails to find something suitable. Eventually, his search lands him a project where a potential employer provides him with all the guts he needs to step out of his comfort zone. 

At first, this big step sounds really minimal - with Wilson being required to dress up in a giant costume based on a kids' toy called Pooka. But as the scene pans to Wilson speaking to his employer, with the Pooka dolls sitting on his table, a certain eerie vibe is introduced to the proceedings.

But it gets more terrifying when the giant suit is introduced, as putting it on turns out to be a whole other nightmare for Wilson.

As expected, real troubles begin for Wilson once he dons the Pooka costume. Initially, he is pretty uncomfortable in the giant rabbit costume, as he sort of waddles around in it. But soon - even before he has a chance to familiarize himself with the suit - another problem swoops in. It turns out that Wilson's mind has started reacting differently while in the outfit. He soon finds out that the costume has started interfering with his abilities, especially with keeping track of time and that leads him to suspect that something bad is about to happen.

And this is where the resemblance to the Richard Kelly classic sets in. In a very classic Donnie Darko style, without realizing exactly what is going on, Wilson soon sees an evil Pooka manifesting itself. And that's when the episode displays its primary twist as it turns out that another legitimate evil creature is sporting the Pooka costume, and possibly trying to frame Wilson for murder.

While the demonic white rabbit that the titular Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) envisioned didn't try to frame him for murder, something sinister would happen during Donnie's encounter with the rabbit on his sleepwalking sprees.

Wilson's Pooka costume from Into the Dark's upcoming episode, 'Pooka.'
Wilson's Pooka costume from Into the Dark's upcoming episode, 'Pooka.'

To explain the story better, here's what its official synopsis reads: "During the presidential election of 1988, a teenager named Donnie Darko sleepwalks out of his house one night and sees a giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days. When Donnie returns home, he finds that a jet engine has crashed into his bedroom. Is Donnie living in a parallel universe, is he suffering from mental illness - or will the world really end?"

Following the mysterious events surrounding 'Pooka's Wilson and his evil rabbit costume, it almost seems that whatever is happening could be a parallel universe occurrence.

For starters, the evil rabbit costume may be Wilson in a parallel universe. Maybe there's no framing for a murder, and Wilson is actually the murderer in the parallel universe. But then again, the demon rabbit from 'Donnie Darko' was a figment of Donnie's imagination - so in all probabilities, this evil Pooka costume murdering around town is also a subject of Wilson's delusion.

Maybe there is no parallel universe and in this universe itself, Wilson is a murderer who uses the Pooka costume as an alias. 

Also, Donnie used to suffer from some sort of mental illness - or probably psychological disorder - for which he was supposed to be on medication. Even though the film's deleted scenes reveal that those pills were actually placebos, it still remains a fact that Donnie wasn't entirely alright when it came to his mind. Which also raises the possibility about Wilson being psychologically imbalanced too - chances of which happening are extremely high because 'Into the Dark's track history shows its affinity for psychological thrillers. And this would explain him subconsciously creating a separate identity and being totally unaware of its existence or crimes.

However, all of this is just speculative theories made on observations from the teaser, and only December will reveal what the plot is all about. But until then anticipating fans will just have to live with the fact that maybe there is no underlying, thrilling sub-plot in 'Pooka' and Wilson is just a very meticulous, cold-blooded Christmas killer.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.