Into The Dark (2012)

Sophia Monet (Mischa Barton) is having a crisis. Her father has died and she’s had a huge loss of faith. Lost and lonely, she won’t even consider dating anyone… until she literally runs into Adam (Ryan Eggold), a strikingly handsome lover of the paranormal.

Things go well – via lots and lots of montages – but Sophia still feels haunted by the past. This time literally. An invisible force pushes down on her while she sleeps and things move on their own in her apartment. Is it the ghost of her dead father?

Then Adam goes missing! Waking up, she finds blood trails leading to the terrifying top floor of his apartment block, which is rich with history… and ghosts? Can Sophia rescue Adam? Is she going crazy? And will she regain her faith? Will you get past the first 60 minutes without falling asleep?

Some horror films forget a fundamental aspect of horror… actually adding horror. Into the Dark is one of the many supernatural horrors that is 90% drama and 10% horror, like the creators believed the simple possibility of scares will compel you through the endless overwrought drama…

… and Into the Dark is packed with overwrought drama: impassioned eulogies, dark secrets revealed, religious beliefs challenged, extended happiness-montages etc… It tries to be profound but comes across as confused and trite.

Sometimes you can tell when a filmmaker hasn’t watched many Horror films because the horror they create is full of cliché. Creative cliché, but still cliché. Rocking chair moving on it’s own? Tick. Asking ‘is someone here?’ to a darkened room? Tick. Needlessly splitting up? Tick. Creepy gramophone music? Tick. Yawn. Etc…

Into the Dark simply isn’t compelling. It is almost entirely without scares or storyline for the first 50 minutes, which just appears to show Mischa Barton act sad about her Dad’s death, question her faith and get with Adam. Over half the movie is slow setup… and then we finally discover what the plot is… and it’s bonkers.

Having possibly realized there was literally nothing scary about Into the Dark for the first hour, writer / director Mark Edwin Robinson clearly decided to go all ‘Insidious’ on us, literally creating 30 minutes of a movie which feels entirely different in plot, character and tone!

Throwing all sense in a blender, Robinson chucks in demonic possession, dozens of spirits, another dimension and an old man / ghost person who spews exposition like its air. Evil spirits jostle with creepy ones, while the newly formed Scooby-gang do their best to split up, scream and ignore logic in favour of ridiculousness. It really is a massive tonal shift.

Perhaps tellingly, the original title of this pseudo-religious drama / horror film was I Will Follow You Into the Dark, which again shows how much pretence was heaped on this film.

Yep, so thus continues to gradual decimation of Mischa Barton’s career as a convincing, sought-after actor. Unfortunately Into the Dark is another showcase of her limited talent and – much like in similar projects Walled In & Apartment 1303 – she is a dreary, depressing protagonist that you will struggle to like. Barton may be utterly adorable and awesome to be around in real life, but her screen presence is moribund at best. Yes, moribund.

Into the Dark is a bit of mess. It’s laughable in places, surprisingly scary in others and tonally demented throughout. Most people will struggle past the first 60 minutes… and those who do will think they changed channels and are watching a totally different film! Inconsistent and bizarre, Into the Dark is unique… but not in a good way.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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