Welcome to Horrible Films for Horrible People! This week’s unfortunate selection is Deep in the Darkness, a film based on Michael Laimo’s novel of the same name.
Dr. Michael Cayle, his wife Cristine and daughter Jessica leave New York City for the quiet isolated community of Ashborough, New Hamsphire. Upon arriving to their country life, the people are friendly and the air is sweet but of course there’s a catch! The town only has one road, there’s no cell phone reception, no cable service, and a sheriff who should have retired 30 years ago enforces a strict curfew requiring all residents to remain indoors after 8:00pm. 8:00pm! The family doesn’t realize this until after they’ve signed the lease, doesn’t it always happen like that? The previous owner was desperately trying to move since her husband was attacked by an “animal.” You can tell that something is fishy with her story but the Cayle family was totally oblivious.
Moving on, the Cayle’s meet their neighbors, the Deighton’s. The father is Phil. His wife Rosy is claiming to have cancer. Their son Tyler is stuck in emo land. Phil’s is essentially there to show Michael around Ashborough. One day, Michael and Phil take a walk and Phil shows Michael a sacrificial stone. The stone is used to sacrifice animals for the benefit of the voracious wild creatures underground. As the viewer, you immediately see that the community has a huge secret. The town’s tradition is to make sacrifices to those creatures and since Michael is the man of the house, it’s his turn to take on the task. Michael refuses but immediately regrets it once peculiar things start happening in and around his home. His dog goes missing, neighbors refuse to acknowledge him, no one will visit his practice, and even his wife is ignoring him. The creatures eventually show their ugly faces to Michael and that’s when the story completely changes.
Deep in Darkness starts out ok. There were even a couple of things I enjoyed: The creepy house and the mood of the film were mysterious and completely unsettling. The creature design was also pretty good. They are filthy, raggedy, cave-looking people with silver glowing eyeballs. Very disturbing. Although, I would have rather they were actual creatures instead of cave people. The acting in the film is pretty good, Sean Patrick Thomas who plays Dr. Michael Cayle does a good job and is believable. Dean Stockwell who played Phil Deighton did a great job as well, which is no surprise since he also played on “Quantum Leap” as Al!
The film starts to go downhill very quickly in the second half. I felt completely lost. At first, I assumed that the family was going to stalked by these creatures and would eventually have to fight for the survival but I was wrong. Since Michael doesn’t want to follow the town’s tradition, a woman tells Michael that the creatures will come for him. But they do not. In fact, the creatures actually want Michael to help one of their women give birth. I didn’t see the point of that at all. Probably because there wasn’t one. This was a pointless turn of events and did nothing to serve the plot. Everything falls apart in the third act. There are multiple intersecting storylines that only act as filler and the viewer is left wanting to give up by the sixty minute mark.
Deep in the Darkness offers absolutely nothing new or appealing. What started out as promising ended up devolving into a tired and pointless retread of better films. I understand that original ideas are hard to come by but they could have at least tried to make it entertaining. How about this? The creatures stalk and hunt the Cayle family because they didn’t follow the town’s sacrificial tradition. The End. Original? No. But at least it would have offered some level of entertainment value.
Deep in the Darkness is currently streaming on Netflix. If you hate your life, feel free to watch it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
WICKED RATING: 1.5/10
Title: Deep in the Darkness
Director: Colin Theys
Writer(s): John Doolan (screenplay), Michael Laimo (novel)
Stars: Dean Stockwell, Sean Patrick Thomas
Studio/ Production Co: Chiller Films
Length: 100 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Horror, Thriller