Psychological horror is always fun, because let’s face it – our minds our the scariest f’ing place around. That’s why I love when ghosties in horror films are all “ooohhhh, is it real or not real, man??”, till the person just trips the f*ck out and loses it. Ghosts aside (debatable actually, depending on who you’re talking too), it’s just too real a thing. Mind-f*cks can happen to anyone, at any time – and that will always be much more of a horror thing to me than, say, zombies (not that I don’t love zombies!). IN THE DARK is one of these films.
“Three men spend the night in a haunted house to face the malevolent ghost that drove their brothers to suicide…and they end up exploring the darkest corners of their own minds.” ~ official tagline.
Or as I prefer to describe it, a stoner, a frat boy, and a spiritualist walk into a house…heh. Essentially, you have Shaggy from Scooby-Doo (he doesn’t smoke that much weed, but he’s the one who uses the most substances in the movie and the paranoid, jumpy one from the get-go); the guy dressed in the polo and khakis, constantly on his cell phone making sales; and the dude who just got called back from wandering around Brazil for the past 3 months because he’s finding himself, and truth. They meet for the first time at a nice little house in suburbia, where they’ve come to pack up their 3 deceased brothers belongings. The 3 brothers had been roomies at this house, but unfortunately all committed suicide on the same night two weeks prior. Strange…Everybody thinks it’s a little odd but also kind of whatever? Like, just one of those horribly random things that happens that you’ll never understand. Then, our truth-seeker finds a journal that the 3 brothers had been sharing before and up till the day they died, that explains exactly what happened. Will our 3 live guys make it through a night at the same house without dying? *insert tense music*
Okay, but is it good? For something clearly very low-budget, it really is not bad. Obviously the picture isn’t clear and crisp, and the sound is kind of terrible (wear headphones, but be prepared to adjust the volume from hi to low through out), but it totally works. It very much has the look and feel of a throwback 70s (perhaps 80s…) flick and I REALLY enjoyed that. They also did an excellent job with the special effects. The ghostly noises were very cool (if loud, lol) and the use of shadows was excellent. I really enjoyed some of the camera work in general. Interesting angles and shots that made full use of what they DID have available to them. And I SO dug the house. Like, what was even up with that one awesome wall (chimney?) that was stacked or whatever? Ugh, loved it.
The acting was much better than you usually see in such a low-budget indie, which was a delightful surprise. Fratboy/Salesguy was a bit too stiff (he was playing a skeptic, but still he was a little too deadpan); while Truthseeker was the best (he had the most to work with though). Shaggy did well for the most part, but his paranoid reactions were a little too over the top, almost from the beginning, as if being played for laughs, which was distracting. Overall though, the acting here is 3 out of 5 ghosties.
And speaking of ghosts…the story here could have been much tighter and should have been shorter. A slow build-up is one thing, but this movie moves at a glacial pace. I thought we were dealing with demonic forces for the LONGEST because of that. And once you get to the supernatural part of the whole thing, it’s kind of underwhelming. Not all ghost stories have to be big productions, of course not, but the ghost story here seemed almost an aside and there was too much left unexplained for me. Finally, the dialogue could use some work. I heard a few lines repeated, some were just superfluous, and different dialogue could have better backed up some of the character’s actions that were a bit duh (not to mention, if these were the darkest corners of these guys’ minds, then these guys are some of the sanest, confident, happiest people I’ve ever seen, hahaha).
I did like IN THE DARK though. While have a few, fairly fixable flaws, the premise was a fun one and the tech side of things and acting held great promise. I’d love to see this reworked some and re-released. Till then, you can check out IN THE DARK on the Horror Kings Facebook page and website. Go get mind-f*cked!