THE DARK WITHIN ** USA 2019 Dir: David Ryan Keith. 88 mins
Marcus (Paul Flannery) is a disturbed man haunted by his past. While trying to unravel the mystery of his parents’ disappearance, he takes the advice of his therapist (Stephanie Lynn Styles) and visits their abandoned cabin. There, he begins to unlock memories from his childhood and learns more about his father’s (Niko Foster) experiments involving remote viewing and a threatening “dark entity.” As he deals with an undead ex-girlfriend (Kendra Carelli), a mysterious creature (HemDee Kiwanuka), and everything else demons do to mess with people (think Evil Dead), we see a glimmer of the energy Flannery could bring to the film if he’d been allowed. But instead of the bloody, fight-for-his-life our antihero seems to be building up to, the story falls flat. And what we do see of this film’s potential (Possessed exes! Skull demons! Scenery chewing!) makes what we’re actually delivered feel that much more unsatisfying. The Dark Within, and its lead, could have had so much more fun with the demon-fighting genre, but shoots itself in the foot with a tediously ambling story that never changes note.
Review by Julia Lynch