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Gavin Schmitt

What Lurks Below: "Deep in the Darkness" (2014)

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Dr. Michael Cayle (Sean Patrick Thomas) thought leaving the chaotic life-style of New York City behind for the quiet, small town of Ashborough would bring his family closer together. Soon after arriving, however, he discovers the town's deepest secret: a terrifying and controlling race of creatures that live amongst the darkness in the forest behind his home.

This film is based on a 2004 book by Michael Laimo (Dead Souls), which was influenced by the 1973 made for television film "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark", starring Kim Darby (not to be confused with the 2011 remake with Katie Holmes. One could probably compare all three films, but suffice it to say the inspiration is rather loose and this film is not the same as those other two.

Dean Stockwell has aged a bit since his glory days of "Quantum Leap", but he is still a commanding figure. One scene involving a plastic bag of eyeballs could have been silly, but he manages to make it deathly serious. Sean Patrick Thomas is a strong lead and a solid actor, providing much more emotional depth to his character than we typically see in horror films. While this film may be lacking at times, it never lacks because of Thomas.

Shock Till You Drop gave the movie a score of five out of ten, stating that while it had some effective jump scares and a good cast, they felt that the film was mostly unmemorable. The New York Times panned the film, expressing disappointment that the film did not live up to its full potential.

The disappointment is understandable, as this overall good film has a flaw or two. Indeed, the creatures are revealed a bit too early, and seem to be somewhat lacking in believability, looking possibly like a poor man's imitation of the creatures from "The Descent". And because the creatures appear so early, the film seems to run on too long. Had the surprise been saved until later, they could have milked more suspense out of the plot. (This may depend on the version you watch; the full film is 100 minutes but was cut to 88 for TV. In this case, the shorter may be paced better.)

Whether this is worth owning is really up to the viewer, but it is probably worth a watch or two. For those who are curious, it hits your home video shelves from Scream Factory this spring.

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  1. Evil-Jello-Man's Avatar
    Great review Gavin!!!! Thanks for the good info!