In the Dark Movie Review
Written by John Colianni
Written and directed by David Spaltro
2015, 80 minutes, Not Rated
Lynn Justinger as Veronica Carpenter
Fiona Horrigan as Dr. Lois Kearne
Catherina Cobb Ryan as Joan Mills
Grace Folsom as Bethany Mills
Some weird, twisted part of me wants ghosts, specters and demons to be real. I want to know if there is another realm where some super evil assholes hang out and wait to take over a body of some poor, unsuspecting person. Sure, that may take away from the allure of haunting and possession movies, but it will definitely make it a lot easier to make sense of half the things I watch and then irrationally fear. Also, most demons tend to be huge dicks that want to make those they take over suffer, for whatever reason. But since I don't believe in any of that crap, I leave it up to my imagination to have fun while heads spin and priests get pimp slapped on screen. In the Dark is such a film featuring a possessed chick backhanding and screaming at a bunch of people in varying voices.
Grad student Veronica Carpenter (Lynn Justinger) is writing her thesis on the benefits of paranormal research in regards to modern psychology. To complete her research she reaches out to renowned paranormal specialist Dr. Lois Kearne (Fiona Horrigan), who takes her on a house visit to see Joan Mills (Catherine Cobb Ryan) and her daughter Bethany (Grace Folsom) who have supposedly been experiencing supernatural events in their home in Brooklyn, New York. It is immediately clear that there are dark and disturbing forces in play and haunted pasts will come to light as a fight to save a young woman begins.
David Spaltro's In the Dark has a great deal of heart that could easily get lost in the fray of other films that have similar subject matter. A concise cast kept me from having to worry about who is who as they're getting offed by the forces of evil. This, however, becomes a drawback later on as everything in the story falls on the shoulders of just a few cast members. Their roles and dialogue start strong but eventually give way to longer exchanges that seem forced and unnecessary. As for special effects, they're right on the money for an independent feature and hit a sweet spot: not underwhelming but nothing that doesn't fit into the rest of the environment. With a run time of only 80 minutes, things get moving rather quickly but stagnate for just a little too long and closer to the end, the film has a bit of a cop-out ending that undoes its very strong start.
In the Dark doesn't bring anything new to the table when it comes to having some evil demon from the depths taking over the body of a seemingly innocent young woman from a suburban town. With that being said, David Spaltro is a great director and his vision of bringing a suspenseful possession story to life has strong foundations. These ideas just need to be fleshed out a bit more to stand apart from the same ideas that have been hammered into the ground year after year. I look forward to Spaltro's next work, which will hopefully feature a stronger cast and some more demons willing to feast on the souls of some teenagers who undoubtedly deserve everything that's coming to them.