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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Deep In The Darkness (Blu-ray)
Deep In The Darkness (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // Unrated // April 21, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $24.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeremy Biltz | posted April 4, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
The "Town with a Dark Secret" sub-genre of horror films is a deep vein from which to mine thrills and chills, and this material has been exploited fairly successfully a number of times. Sadly, Colin Theys' Deep in the Darkness is only a mediocre example of the form, and largely wastes its talented cast.

Sean Patrick Thomas plays Dr. Michael Cayle, a big city physician from New York who wants to move his small family, consisting of wife Cristine (Kristen Bush) and daughter Jess (Athena Grant), to the less stressful small town life of Ashborough, NH. Michael takes over the practice of the previous doctor, an elderly man who was bitten by a rabid dog and died. The town seems peaceful enough, and their nearest neighbor Phil (Dean Stockwell at his curmudgeonly best) seems nice enough.

But, of course since this is a horror movie, everything is not as it appears. The townsfolk are mildly creepy, especially the haughty town social leader Lady Zellis (Blanche Parker), who takes Cristine under her wing at the church picnic. Things get really weird when Phil takes Michael on a lonely path in the woods behind their houses and shows him a blood stained stone altar. Phil explains that the Isolates, a group of wild men that have lived in the area for centuries, demand animal sacrifices from the locals, with dire consequences for those who do not comply. Since Michael believes this to be superstitious hokum, he refuses to sacrifice. And, guess what? Dire consequences follow.

Deep in the Darkness is at best an okay horror film, which is too bad. Sean Patrick Thomas gives a really good performance as the put upon doctor. He's got great chemistry with Bush as well, and Stockwell delivers a great turn as the crusty old neighbor. And, on a technical level, the film is very well executed. The makeup for the Isolates is superb, and they are very creepy creatures indeed. But the story falls terribly flat. The scenes feel disjointed, and the transitions between them are awkward. But most of all, the supposedly weird and isolated town just isn't that disturbing. We never feel out of place or uncomfortable there. Sure, there are some strange people, but any town has strange people. We should have felt an outré vibe from every odd glance and strained interaction, but it just isn't there. And Phil basically laying the backstory of the Isolates straight out on the table not too far in to the film robs the audience of any of the joy of trying to figure it out. That was probably the biggest narrative mistake, but there were others. The story relies too heavily on characters acting in ways that no normal human being would. In particular, when Michael and his family have the chance to flee the town, Cristine doesn't take the very obvious choice that would save them, but rather the obviously foolish and illogical choice to return to their isolated home.

It's really disappointing, because there is a lot of material here to work with, and clearly very talented people in the cast and crew. But aside from a few modest jump scares and a few moments of tension, there's really nothing going on for a horror fan to appreciate. It's a waste. Rent it.

The DVD

Video:
The video is 1.78:1 widescreen, and the Blu-ray presentation is quite clear and crisp. The colors are bright and the shadows dark, when appropriate. This is a very good looking film, and transfer.

Sound:
Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel, and sounds quite good as well. This kind of movie thrives on half heard sounds, distant whispers and footfalls, and there was some of that, but not nearly enough. There are no obvious audio problems, and everything is clear and clean. Dialogue is always easily audible. English subtitles are included, but no alternate language track.

Extras:
There are not a lot of extras included: A trailer, a couple of TV spots, and some small snippets of interviews with the cast and crew that aired on Chiller TV, which produced the film.

Final Thoughts:
Deep in the Darkness has a decent premise, though it's been done before, but can't seem to execute at a storytelling level. The cast is quite good, especially Sean Patrick Thomas and Dean Stockwell, and the creature effects are superb. But they never manage to get the audience to care about anything that happens. And it's not particularly scary. Check it out if you like, but there's not much there.

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