If you want to get famous, you better be ready to fake it. This is Austin's plan when he is putting together a paranormal investigator pilot with him in the center. To make things as authentic as possible, they find a place with a dark history. But this large old house has a history that may end up biting them in the ass.
"Within the Darkness" is a tad bit of a bland title for any horror movie, even if it's not a good one. It's a title you'd easily mix up with other movies, and this could be a reason as to why I left it unwatched for some time. Not because I had heard anything specific about it, but because the title itself was unintrigued. Like its title, "Within the Darkness" has a familiar spine, but it's a movie that might not be quite what you expect it to be.
Austin is paving his way to Hollywood as he plans to create a paranormal investigation show. It's all bullshit, of course, but as every similar show on TV is too, he's pretty sure he can pull it off. Together with his girlfriend Lucy and a small group of people, he's ready to shoot his pilot which will focus on the legendary death in the Hewitt house. Lucy isn't too happy about doing it in that house, but she does her best for her man. His cinematographer however, is a bitchy woman who only sees Lucy as a block between her and Austin. When they get a real psychic in, it seems like the house's dark legend might be true.
Without actually deserving to be called a "horror comedy", this supernatural ghost story is filled with a lot of fun moments. Already from the start, which is what originally hooked me into it. The entire plot of people faking a paranormal investigation show is fun. It's still very much a horror movie when things start kicking off, but the ride there is what might make this stand out. I personally found the first hour to be great, because while the comedy didn't make me laugh out loud, it's just a light-hearted and entertaining horror dosed with comedy. The movie falls a little bit when the horror starts happening for real, mostly because they went with some awkward effects and seemed more concerned with forcing it on us than scaring us.
The movie also has quite a plot twist, which I think will divide people. It's not very logical and it does make me uneasy in deciding what I thought. It wasn't the most typical twist, at least, and it worked really well within some aspects of the movie. It wouldn't have worked in a different movie, that's for sure. So while it wasn't a great ending, it was at least an interesting way to tie the bag together.
Erin Cline as Lucy is what really sold me here. When many of the characters were intentionally made as assholes, she was a constant pleasure on the screen. To no surprise, of course, since Erin Cline is slowly becoming one of my favorite new faces in horror. Having just seen her in Jason Fragale's shorts "Date Night" and "Simone", and Thomas L. Phillips's great feature "Quite a Conundrum", she has already made herself very recognizable and proven herself to be an instant likable person. Surprisingly, another solid character is Megan, the psychic, played by Shanna Forrestall. Unlike other movie psychics, her role actually meant something to the movie, and she was often alongside Lucy as a nice person. Psychics in horror movies often play as much of a role as the cop who instantly dies, but luckily "Within the Darkness" had more use of their psychic.
Overall, "Within the Darkness" offers more joy and entertainment than scares and originality. It works for me because I found myself having a good time with it, but expecting a scary ghost story you'll set yourself up for failure. The title might make you believe that something sinister is going on, but even though this is a ghost story in its core, its focus is often on the things around it. Which is good, in my opinion, but I suspect certain people won't agree. Not perfect by a long shot, but "Within the Darkness" proved to be a fun experience. It doesn't hurt that Erin Cline continues to brighten every role she plays either!