Deep in the Darkness

Deep in the Darkness

Release Date: 
Friday, May 23, 2014
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 40 Minutes

Chiller, the TV network for people who want to watch rerun of horror, thriller and suspence TV shows but don't want to bother with Netflix, occasionally throws some original programming at its audience, and Deep in the Darkness, based on the book by Michael Laimo, is just such a thing.

The official story is as follows:

Dr. Michael Cayle thought leaving the chaotic lifestyle 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 woods behind his home.

Dr. Cayle is played by Sean Patrick Thomas, who most people will remember from Save the Last Dance. And one thing they don't mention here is that this doctor isn't just leaving the chaotic life of New York, but trying to calm down his hectic work schedule so that he can pursue some medical scientific endeavors. To that end, shortly after moving to this new town he receives a box full of samples of deadly viruses, such as eubola and the bubonic plague. Adhereing to the principles of Chekhov and his gun, don't show us a deadly virus unless you plan to use it... and they do, but not until much later.

Cayle's neighbor Phil is played by Dean Stockwell, who is probably best know from his role on Quantum Leap. Phil tries a lot to warn Cayle of the dangers of the town, without coming right out and saying it, until he literally comes out and says it. Phil lives with his wife and his grandson. His kids are dead and his wife has "cancer" which is code for "mauled by evil monsters" and he would like nothing more than to leave this little town, but he can't leave. No one can. You can't even plan to leave, because they are always listening.

Anyway... Deep in the Darkness is well made. The acting never feels wooden or cartoonish, either of which could have easily happened. And the effects are mostly well done - the glowing eyes of the monsters feel a bit overmuch at times, but overall they make effective monsters. The pacing of the story is fairly quick, giving you all the details you need and never bogging down with ones you don't. The only place this movie falters is at the end, which has a very unsurprising twist and a needless open ending that doesn't resolve the whole situation, not even for the main character.

In my opinion, a good horror/monster movies ends in one of three ways. One, the hero defeats the monster and all is right with the world. Two, the monster defeats the hero, but the hero's death has some meaning - maybe he dies to save other people, whatever. Three, the hero escapes the monster, and though the monster lives you feel the hero has been, at least on some level, victorious. Some people would argue a fourth way would be that the monster wins, killing everyone and continuing to be an evil menace waiting out there for another hapless victim. I personally don't like that fourth way, so I don't consider that a good ending. I like my horror with a little bit of hope.

Deep in the Darkness manages to not end in any of those ways. I'm not going to ruin it by telling you exactly how it ends, but I will say that I was confused and disappointed. I almost feel like I only saw half a story and need a sequel to finish it off, which is sad because right until the final couple minutes of the movie I was really enjoying it and thought it was ending well... then the twist changed all that.

Oh well, you can't win 'em all. Deep in the Darkness is still worth watching, and you can if you get Chiller in your cable package. I think. I checked their website and can't seem to see when it is going to air, or air again, or come to DVD or anything. Maybe you can't watch it. *shrug*

EDITOR's NOTE: 'Deep in the Darkness' airs May 23 at 9:00PM on CHILLER

Review by Jason Pace
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