"The Dark Within" is a psychological shock horror from Director David Ryan Keith. Paul Flannery (Ghosts of Darkness), Kendra Carelli (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, “Maid to Order”), and Stephanie Lynn Styles (Check Point) star. The film blends classic metaphysics and psuedo-science with shock horror.
The film concerns a disturbed man with unknown psychic abilities who tries to unravel the mystery of his parent's disappearance while battling his own demons.
The story mixes mysticism and science together for a supernatural horror show. There is a more than subtle nod to 80's cult horror, most notably 'Evil Dead'. Keith does offer a bit more creativity and originality in his approach. "The Dark Within", compared to other more recent retro horror homages, is slightly more experimental. Blending both the psuedo science of psychic ability manipulation and the more sinister exploration of the demonic essence, the film does establish a clear, interesting storyline.
All that being said, "The Dark Within" does have some flaws. For one thing the platform of experimenting with psychic abilities isn't developed strong enough to sell the plot point, and the whole struggle to reconcile ones past while battling internal demons drags out a little too long. In the film's defense despite the sluggish start, "The Dark Within" does finally get there about 45 minutes into it.
The horror elements are straight up, cool atmospheric tricks. The shock moments work, the CGI elements are quality displays that sell the whole demonic haunting aspects, and the creature design is awesome and creepy. The cinematography talents and shadowing really frame "The Dark Within" in a traditional 80's VHS horror style. And it all really kicks in around that 45 minute mark. I did find the choices for ending the film a bit cheap, but it creates an easy way of questioning the truth of the events we just saw. (3/5)