Through The Scream Review mail, I got a really interesting new film from David Spaltro, and this one caught my eye for its all female cast and spirit based plot line. I was really excited for this one, to see how it would unfold.
Check out the teaser here:
Directed by David Spaltro
Starring Lynn Justinger, Fiona Horrigan, Catherine Cobb Ryan and Grace Folsom
“A skeptical grad student and a renowned paranormal specialist investigate a potentially haunted home, and the troubled, young woman inside whose affliction may be beyond their realm.”
What I really liked about In the Dark was the use of suspense that built up to some really great scares throughout. There were no tactics to trick you into a false scare, it was all cleverly built up to some really strong moments of horror. I felt that this movie had a lot of traditional horror elements and kept up a really eerie atmosphere throughout. What I thought was really interesting, was how the all female cast would play out in the scenario, and how the elements of the film would pull together as a whole.
Each character in the movie had a totally different personality, and there were no stereotypical female tropes to be found. There was a depth to everyone, even if I didn’t know every little detail about each character. I liked that every character was different and they also had their own flaws, so you could sympathise a little bit with everyone. Veronica (Justinger) had a really strong personality and had her own flaws, but she was very interesting as a whole. I really liked her performance from the start, seeing how she gradually progressed as the events unfolded. Lois (Horrigan) really kept me going as I loved her paranormal background and her knowledge. Everyone in the movie dealt with the scenario differently, such as Joan (Ryan) who was at her wits end throughout, and understandably. Every emotion felt by the characters was necessary and well placed, everything happened for a reason. But the character who I feel really stole the show was Bethany (Folsom). Every movement, the way she delivered her dialogue was fantastic. I was really drawn into her character and how everything played into her situation. In the Dark gets 5/5 in itself for creating a well thought out selection of female characters at the forefront of a horror movie.
The plot of the film was something we’ve seen before in the sub-genre, but the execution of the idea was definitely inventive and created a new idea that I definitely think is interesting and unique. Seeing these 4 females dealing with a higher evil as a team really kept me hooked throughout. I’d love to see more of these actresses in horror movies, because I feel that they’ve got something really special that they could bring to the table, reimagining how we see women in horror. I think David chose this idea, and the actresses perfectly. The finale in itself gave me chills and got under my skin in the best way possible.
The lighting in the movie kept the atmosphere shaken up and terrifying. It helped enhance some of the more intense scenes, making good use of the darkness and enhancing character’s features to help portray certain elements of the story and the transformation. It really had me on my toes, second guessing a lot of things, and I was definitely all for the scares that were really amped up by the use of music and lighting together. I feel that sometimes in possession/spirit based movies, the demonic part can feel a little corny, but that definitely was not the case in In the Dark. It was insidious and got under my skin in a lot of places, which I really commend David for.
I would definitely suggest you look into this movie and give it a watch if you get the chance! I give In the Dark 5 skulls out of 5 (☠☠☠☠☠).
I caught up with David to ask him a few questions I really wanted to know;
Where did the idea come from for an essentially all female cast? The characters were all so unique and had a lot of depth to them. Is it an idea you always wanted to use?
I’ve always been a big supporter of more and well rounded, strong roles for females in films. I think it’s sorely lacking, and as an artist it’s actually a great inspiration because so many stories we’ve seen done, and redone a million times over (literally and figuratively with all the remakes an reboots) that simply changing it up and telling it from a female perspective opens up all new avenues in different ways. I also absolutely ADORE Lynn Justinger (Veronica) and Grace Folsom (Bethany) who I had the pleasure of working with on my previous feature film “Things I Don’t Understand”. I sort of wrote the roles with them in mind, as I had also been developing a feature film with both of them in mind that financing had fallen away from, and then the other two actresses were also talents I had in mind, actresses Fiona Horrigan and Catherine Cobb Ryan whom I met at some directing workshops. The dynamic of four diverse women of different ages coming together under the pressure of the supernatural and strained familial demons was a great canvas to paint on, particularly when collaborating with actors of their abilities.
What were your main influences for the movie? Have you always been interested in possession movies?
I wasn’t really sure what story I was going to tell, as I was hired to write and direct a horror film by an investor before I had the story. I definitely tried a few different avenues that didn’t work, did a lot of research, and read some really scary scientific papers on “true” cases of demonic possession, and also haunting activity in hospitals. Something about the meshing of science against the superstitions of old really intrigued me, especially in today’s modern society. I definitely came at it from the slant of The X-Files rather than The Exorcist, because that film is just so powerful and well done, that no matter how good a job you do, when you tackle that subject you look like a lesser copy of that. For me I wanted to focus on the characters and their journey, using the real demons to magnify the harsher metaphorical demons of the abuse and secrets all the characters have.
Do you think you’ll make any more exorcism movies in the future or are there other aspects of horror you want to look into exploring?
I like pushing myself and doing different things. I could see myself playing in the horror genre again very easily, as making this film really rekindled my love for it and also what you can do outside the box as a storyteller. Exorcism… I don’t know. I never say never, but I’d have to have a new slant, challenge, or the right script come my way.
Who would you say is your biggest influence in horror?
I grew up feasting on stories of Stephen King and the films of John Carpenter, Wes Craven (may he rest in peace), watched The X-Files religiously… Dario Argento, Romero, EC comics and old Hammer films…the lot of them are all definitely embedded in me.
When did you first get into horror?
Very young. As a kid my grandfather would rent all kind of video nasties, and I really got into the gory stuff, and more importantly, the art of make up and effects. At one point I thought i’d actually get into that, and modeling, and mask making.
Definitely check out David’s work and show some support – he’s one to watch!
If you have content (films, music, merch, clothing, art) you’d like reviewed and featured in your own post on The Scream Review, please drop me an email with the relevant links and information and I’ll be very happy to get back to you.