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THE DARKNESS WITHIN
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Dom Portalla

Starring:
Jimmy Scanlon
Michelle Romano
Ken Flott
Sean Pierce

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A young couple move into a new apartment only to find that their neighbor is a peeping Tom. If they don't unlock the secret to this mysterious voyeur soon, they may lose everything, including their minds.
Is it good movie?
Our young couple in this flick aren't a young and happy couple. Ashley's cheated on Chad before, but he's a raging alcoholic. They're moving into a new place and have a creepy neighbor who peeps on them and just seems to be everywhere they don't want him to be. Chad just can't seem to shake the image of the imposing and passive Mr. Reed. Poor Chad can't get any help from the police or his lazy, weird slacker landlord (with horrid Boston accents). From here, the movie turns into a 'is this really happening, or is the alcoholic guy going nuts' sort of deal.

Taking a cue from better movies that preceded it, Darkness Within is a journey into madness. Poor Chad can't get any help from the police or his lazy, weird slacker landlord. I'll start my criticism by saying this ia very low budget film. It doesn't look great. The colors are muted, the audio quality is poor (and all over the place) and the shots themselves aren't overly creative- there's a ton pf jump-cut quick edits that drove me nuts. It does feel a bit homemade and for me, that was tough to get past at times.

With that out of the way, this story does manage to deliver some of the goods as it goes along. Presented in three acts, The Darkness Within can be a pretty gripping tale. The first act sets things up for us and shows us the typical banter of a not-quite-perfect couple as they make their way through the day. The second act is the real meat of the story, where poor Chad's anxiety ramps up to unhealthy levels and the third act is where the story wraps up and provides a big twist that admittedly got me.

In terms of performances, Chad is played quite well by Jimmy Scanlon, and creepy Mr. Reed is the scene stealer played by Sean Pierce. In fact, at times it's hard not to cheer for the neighbor as the guy turns in a great performance. Unfortunately on the negative side of things, Michele Romano came off embarrassing and amateurish in her role as Ashley. The girl just got under my skin.

There's not a whole lot else for me to say here. This film has a decent story, but some obvious technical limitations make it hard to buy into. Almost all of the movie takes place in one apartment, the audio problems are frustrating and the performances can be hit and miss. With that said, if you're into indie horror and want something with a decent story this'll be right up your alley. If you expect your new girlfriend to watch this with you, you'll likely need to look for a new gal.
Video / Audio
Video and Audio specs are not listed, but as mentioned in my review, this isn't a technical powerhouse by any means. Video is grainy and shots are shaky, and audio levels are inconsistent and hard to hear at times.

The Extras
First up is a Gag Reel of blown shots, flubbed lines and the giggles. It runs about 7 minutes long.

There's also a Music Video by Thicker Than Blood called Keep me Conscious, and it's directed by Dom Portalla, this movie's director.

A teaser and full trailer for this film are also included.

Finally, there are three short flicks from Dom Portalla included called The Followers (about social networking and office dating), Double Date (a dark conversation with a split personality lamenting a bad date), and Angel's Lullaby, reflecting on the last moments of a captured mobster. These are neat inclusions but have nothing to do with the film. Also worth noting is that you'll see some familiar faces in each film.
Last Call
I can't recommend The Darkness Within to just anyone, but it does represent a great starting point for what seems to be a competent director with a cast full of potential. If you want to see a potential "before they were stars" flick, maybe this will be up your alley.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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