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The Dark Within (2019) - Movie Review

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The Dark Within (2019)

Award-winning director David Ryan Keith (of The Redwood Massacre and Ghosts of Darkness fame) is back with his new mind-trip of a horror film.  While not as sharp as his other films, The Dark Within is tightly contained as it presents its puzzle pieces to us.  There is a dark mystery here and, as it involves a laboratory AND a (stone) cabin in the woods, Horror Hounds ought to be pleased with its genre nods . . . even if its actual horror experience leaves us a bit . . . cold.


"The Dark Within is morbidly-wicked horror for the mind"

Marcus (Paul Flannery, Ghosts of Darkness) has psychic abilities.  And they might be driving him a bit mad of late.  His visions are dark and disturbing and the voices in his head, well, sometimes they lead him to interesting things.  However, there is an uneasy truth to his experiences and it has to do with his grasp of reality.

Which is why Dr Norton (Stephanie Lynn Styles, Check Point) suggests he try to sort out his abilities and his memories of his tragic past at his parent’s remote cabin in the woods.  He will be safe there, she suggests.  But his demons are stronger than the silence as he goes tripping back into the immediate past to uncover the truth about his parents and their tragic disappearance. {googleads}

From ghosts in the woods to skull-looking ghouls possessing the living, there is a lot to appreciate about this trippy film.  The gore effects are thick and juicy and the jump scares are significantly reduced, as this film builds its mojo from scenes of suspense and unexpected happenings both in and outside of the stone cabin in the woods.   You might even get caught up in the mystery . . . if you don't figure it out too early in the film.

It’s successes, though, are sprinkled with a lot of frustrations as nothing is as it seems and Flannery’s reactions to his imagination becomes both hilarious and frustrating.  Once the fear factor is ratcheted up, it is immediately dismissed as Flannery discovers he is merely imagining the terror that is creeping up on him. The Dark Within (2019)

For far too much of the film, the scenes of tension and fear are dismissed as Marcus wakes up from the terror and accepts the reality around him.  Fool us once, you know how the saying goes, but this film keeps doing it and it puts a lid on just how creeped out we are going to be.  Obviously, nothing in this movie is happening and that lessens its effectiveness as a horror film. 

Flannery; however, does control the audience’s reaction to the continued dismissal of the creepy crawlies around him and he does this with humor and exasperated reactions to some pretty extreme situations.  The best is when he is attempting to deal with a 911 operator who is not as interested in helping him save his girlfriend (Kendra Carelli, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and more interested in how she is going to die.

Releasing July 2 on VOD and DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment, The Dark Within is morbidly-wicked horror for the mind. 

3/5 beers

The Dark Within (2019)


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dark within poster

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
88 mins
: David Ryan Keith
Paul Flannery, David Ryan Keith
Paul Flannery, Stephanie Lynn Styles, Mark Wood
: Horror
The Past Can Be deadly.
Memorable Movie Quote: "This belongs to you. It belongs to your parents cabin."
Theatrical Distributor:
2nd Nature Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 2, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: The Dark Within concerns a disturbed man with unknown psychic abilities who tries to unravel the mystery of his parent’s disappearance while battling his own demons.


dark within poster

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