Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Deep in the Darkness (2014)

Warning: spoilers ahead – though, frankly, the only surprise coming to you is how little thought the film puts into the little stuff like basic logic.

Dr. Michael Cayle (Sean Patrick Thomas), his wife Cristine (Kristen Bush) and their daughter Jessica (Athena Grant) are moving into one of these charming small towns US horror can’t live without. Not surprisingly, something is very wrong here. Not only isn’t cable TV allowed in town (though there’s internet and we never learn what these people think about satellite TV), the usual horror movie cell phone rules seem to apply and a curfew forbids one leaving one’s home after 8pm, there’s also the little thing with the cave-dwelling half-humans who have been controlling the town for centuries even though they’re clearly not very bright, number perhaps a couple dozens, and can’t even stand up to a former city doctor in a one-on-one fight. There’s also a bit of Innsmouth style “miscegenation” going on, it seems, but there doesn’t seem any immortality, riches or anything at all in it for the humans working with the stupidly named “isolates”, so I have no idea why anybody would put up with the monsters’ crap.

Anyway, exactly the stuff you’d expect after you’ve seen it in half a dozen other movies happens, there’s a twist ending that makes the motivations of one of the main characters absolutely inscrutable, and then an obvious invitation to a sequel that hopefully will never come.

So yeah, despite looking pretty good for its budget, decent acting, some minutes of Dean Stockwell, and a score that has ambitions to be in a much more lavish movie, Colin Theys’s Deep in the Darkness started to annoy me after a somewhat intriguing first twenty minutes or so. At that point, I was expecting the film to go somewhere interesting with its underground dwellers and the cult working for them, but it became increasingly clear nobody involved bothered to think anything about the plot through, or arguably, think at all. The poor cultists are so badly motivated, they don’t even have the old “they’re all crazy” excuse for what they do. Worse, the film never manages to establish the isolates as a credible threat. They’re mostly grubby, smallish people with silly glowing eyes who grunt a lot, and who have trouble winning physical confrontations with a doctor and his fists; Cthulhu knows what would happen to the poor bastards if somebody brought a gun or explosives.

Because the writing here is astonishingly lazy, there are no guns incoming, because our hero just happens to have some vials of ebola, bubonic plague and other viruses in his - completely unprotected from potential mass murderers and terrorists - office, and he’s so great at virology, he can cook up a ridiculously fast killing version of these in about five minutes. While we’re talking stupidity, this is also a film where having no car prevents you from fleeing crazy monster town even though said monsters only come out at night and the next town is supposed to be only two miles away. The script is full of this sort of nonsense, and barely a minute goes by where even someone like me who tends to be rather patient with this sort of thing can’t overlook the script’s complete unwillingness to make even a lick of sense.

And since Deep in the Darkness doesn’t have anything else to offer, there’s nothing to distract from its general dumbness nor any reason to put up with it.


Pauline said...

Ahh jeez... Cross. Off. List. As always: thanks, man!

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

You're welcome! This one really annoyed me (obviously).