A group of friends decides to break into an abandoned insane asylum, have some drinks, do some drugs, get laid, and taunt an insane, massive woman named Lizzy Duncan. Bad things ensue. Supposedly, this film is the actual footage of the event. If you’re thinking Blair Witch Project – bingo, only really lame.
No. I hate to be that forward, but, no, this isn’t a good movie. It’s that simple. I know a lot of effort was put forth for In the Dark
, but the end result isn’t good. The acting is poor, the script weak, and the cinematography and the editing bad; in other words, this film needed more work. I wanted to dig the film because I’m one of those who dug Blair Witch. The idea of “real” footage shouldn’t be for that movie only. However, if you’re going for the “real” route, the footage had better be interesting, compelling, and it had better be scary. Sure, there are moments that involve Lizzy Duncan -- the film’s villain -- that come across well. She’s the one great aspect as the crazed patient still living in the abandoned asylum. She’s like Jason Voorhees on crack, and truly does scare. But it takes too damn long to get there. The viewer must wallow through the first thirty minutes, and by the time we see Lizzy, I was bored. The main characters were uninteresting, and in fact, I kept thinking local community theatre actors (which doesn’t mean bad work, but it feels less than professional). They were all the same; no character emerged that I could care for, no one to root for. Not even the slutty girls the guys brought with them. Lizzy ends up the only character I cared for, as director Slater Kane did great work showing bits and pieces of her life in the home. Just enough to wet the appetite, and not so much that it eroded the mystery of her. Besides her, the film didn’t offer me much.
With this being a true story and “real” footage, I must discuss the cinematography. The opening shot is a static one, where the bad boys sit around in a graveyard and b.s. like real guys do. Great, but that’s for home movies, which this is supposed to be, but it goes on forever. It could have been used to give character (slight) insight into the guys, but it doesn’t. Instead, they seem like they’re acting for the camera, which is never good. The camera and the scene needs to move to keep interest. Unlike Blair Witch, the camera in In the Dark
continually gets placed on the ground. It’s the static effect again, which dulls the pace horribly. The one bit I did dig was the use of the security cameras. That’s a great gimmick that wasn’t used hardly enough. Kane’s best use came as one of the girls makes a break for it with a former patient. As they try to climb the gates, the security camera catches the action, and we see Lizzy slowly approach them, appearing as the camera sweeps. Personally, I felt if they had done more of that, and perhaps went a pseudo documentary approach, this film could have been fantastic. But that’d be reworking the entire script, which wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
A good idea, with some good scares here and there, but not enough. I was utterly bored throughout 80% of the movie.