David Ryan Keith is making some waves within the horror community with movies that have so far included the likes of The Redwood Massacre (2014), Ghosts of Darkness (2017) and now The Dark Within that is due to be released in July 2019 (US).
But David didn’t start with just these three movies alone – his showreel also includes many shorts – Evil in the Hills (2006), Demonic (2009), Dead Funny (2009) and Attack of the Herbals (2011).
His latest outing, The Dark Within, David has had a go at the psychology of horror rather than cheap scares and over-the-top slash and gore and to most parts The Dark Within works well.
Starring Paul Flannery (Ghost of Darkness) as Marcus, a man plagued with psychic abilities who is struggling to understand what happened to his parents when he was a young boy and the events that led up to their disappearance.
His counsellor, Dr. Norton, suggest he goes back to the place where all his troubles began – a cottage hidden away in the woods, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill cottage as this one was also a secret lab where experiments took place years prior to Marcus’s return.
It turns out to be a mistake for Marcus as weird things start to happen immediately on his return. Objects appearing from nowhere, imaginary people appearing in the woods and at his door, noises seemingly coming from nowhere, strange recordings on old dictaphone tapes, strange entities that appear to mess with his head and the list goes on.
As with the Ghost of Darkness, David relies on limited characters in The Dark Within with Paul Flannery taking up centre-stage throughout – but don’t let this put you off seeing the movie as Flannery is excellent and great at pulling in the viewer from start to finish. And whilst Flannery has a background that includes comedy and stage actor, he usage of comedy is limited in this movie with just the odd moment that lightens the mood slighty.
The story, at times, can be hard to follow as the ‘entity’ that is seemingly hunting Marcus starts messing with his mind and as a viewer you need to be on form to decipher what is real and what isn’t – but stick with it as everything is explained towards the end and whilst I can understand some viewers may be put off with a slow-burn psychological horror such as this, the pay-off at the end is worth waiting around for.
The movie does take some thinking about but it’s good to see a writer/director try his/her hand at something different. And to be fair, David doesn’t seem to like sticking to one kind of genre in terms of subject matter. All of his last three movies have taken different steps and each one has been better than the last. From a masked serial killer to a haunted house to a man with psychic abilities warding of some evil entity!
The Dark Within also delivers some excellent effects ranging from CGI to practical with enough gore that doesn’t go over-the-top whilst delivering the impact certain scenes need.
Jump scares are few-and-far between which is a novelty compared to a lot of recent horror movies and like I have already mentioned, this is a psychological horror movie and one that relies more on suggestion than it does on jump scares.
If you are a fan of cabin in the woods kind of movies or movies that takes some thinking about then give The Dark Within a viewing.
Final note :
It is also notable that there is a much more refined, polished and if I may say ‘feel’ to this movie than perhaps The Redwood Massacre and Ghost of Darkness but this is down to the fact The Dark Within has a bigger budget than the previous two mentioned movies and it’s easy to see why. David Ryan Keith and his team are producing some great movies at the moment and it’s only right that he is getting the backing he and his team are now getting.
Overall this is one movie I will re-watch more than once but I can understand why it may divide some fans of the horror community.
My rating is a clear 4 / 5.
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