There's Stuff To Like "Deep In The Dark" Review

Everyone off the street by eight.

When the local shows you the sacrificial altar, don't laugh, just leave. But Dr. Michael Cayle (Sean Patrick Thomas) just laughs when Phil (Dean Stockwell) explains the pre-Columbian bloody table in the middle of the woods. Cayle has bought a medical practice out in rural New Hampshire to expand his family. But, wouldn't you know it, the town is obliged to sacrifice animals to the savage Isolates who dwell in the muddy tunnels underneath or else be consumed by them--except for the eyes, which they creepily leave behind. Silly Dr. Cayle refuses to make a sacrifice, thinking it all a bunch of hooey, and tempts their wrath. Luckily, he has medical skills these creatures require.

As a horror film, there is plenty here to stretch the suspension of disbelief to its breaking point. Dr. Cayle is brought into the tunnels to deal with a breached delivery. He performs a cesarian section operation under the influence of an anesthetic--because the Isolates wisely don't let the doctor inject them with anything he hasn't taken himself--and sows the muddy beast back up despite the absolute certainty that she will die from a horrible infection. The films dramatic resolution also suffers from a deep unscientific flaw that I won't spoil except to say that there's no way it would have worked that fast. A more realistic resolution would probably create a web of narrative difficulties and brought a seriousness that the glowing Isolate pupils had destroyed long before.

Somehow, this film was not only watchable, but basically decent. The greater the distance from this film, the more I will remember its awful elements and forget its strange ability to keep me onboard. The greatest contributor to this is the production where no weird humanoids are involved. The look is sharp and could have been any family drama, well edited and engaging. The creatures, however, were a serious problem for future me. In the moment I sort of nodded along with their well-executed (if ludicrously placed) acrobatics and disgusting cannibalism. But nothing is going to change my mind on the make-up, which is somewhere between the Predator from Predator (1987) and an orangoutang. Even the ending, which completely accepted the convention of horror films' unhappily-ever-after, was acceptable.

Bonus features

"Meet the Makers", TV spots, and a trailer. It also comes with a reversible cover, with the hidden one far superior to the terrifically terrible one shown above.

"Deep in the Dark" is on sale April 21, 2015 and is not rated. Horror. Directed by Colin Theys. Written by John Doolan. Starring Dean Stockwell, Kristen Bush, Sean Patrick Thomas.

Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.


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