johnlink ranks FROM WITHIN (2009)

It’s been a few months since I ventured over to FEAR NET for a potentially horrible movie. Well, let me qualify that. I have started and stopped several movies. There was a time when I would’ve been happy, almost eager, to watch a crappy movie. Then I could come onto this blog here and rip it.  But now, when I watch a first scene and know a film is unable to be saved, I shut it off. I guess that’s one way that having a family has changed my life: I have less patience for shitty films. SOME LIGHT SPOILERS BELOW

I watched FROM WITHIN (2009) on 4.1.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

I decided to give this a shot for two reasons. The first was the premise: Someone starts a suicide chain, and whoever happens upon the body ends up killing themselves against their will (if that makes any sense). Sounds like a mix of THE RING and FINAL DESTINATION. Smart enough premise for me to click on it when combined with (reason number two) the fact that it co-stars Thomas Dekker, who ably played John Connor in the short lived TERMINATOR TV series.

I spent the first third of this movie wondering if this was a new Christian-Horror genre. There was so much heavy-handed talk about religion, the evils of Satanism and witches, that I thought this might really be a new genre. Exorcism movies wouldn’t fall under that category because of the manner in which they appear on screen, just like a band who happens to be Christian isn’t necessarily a Christian Rock band. But with FROM WITHIN, I really thought this might be a Kirk Cameron production for a while.

By the end, there is no question that it’s not a Christian Horror flick (too bad, I wanted one of those to exist, if only for the confusion it would cause). Set aside the violence and the F Bombs, the thematic thrust of FROM WITHIN has much more to do with the dangers of extremism from any vantage point. One could argue this film mistrusts religion in general, as most every person in this film who has a religion, whether a ‘good’ and an ‘evil’ religion, turns out to be villainous. There are only two good people in this whole movie, and one of those people started a curse which causes people to kill themselves.

This film has one of ‘those endings’ that horror movies love to do, which usually piss me off. And it did piss me off. But then redemption is found in the closing credits, because it did what it did for a reason (logic is often not a driving force in horror film creation). It’s the first time a horror movie ever made me feel like it had a reason for making us feel like it was all pointless.

The acting in this is pretty rough when not coming from female lead Elizabeth Rice, who I kept thinking would have made a much more watchable Bella in the TWILIGHT series. Even Thomas Dekker is pretty bad in this, falling back on an emo-inspired negativity which doesn’t do anything good for the tone of the film.

Liz didn’t watch the first half of this with me, and when she popped in for the end she commented that the character development was better than usual with these films. I agree they at least try, even if many of the characters are one-sided. But they all are motivated to do what their character would think is the right thing, even if that right thing is misguided and turns them into bad people. I usually berate horror flicks with characters you don’t want to cheer for. This bucks that trend because, even though people are being offed one-by-one, the way it is approached creates a sense of everyone being against the heroine, rather than creating an atmosphere wherein we are just awaiting the next brutal death.

The script in this film isn’t too bad. I wish it had found a slightly more subtle place. The acting is rough, but not a deal breaker. The direction is straightforward, but not a detriment. This sounds like a mediocre movie, right? Well, I guess it is. But I still feel like it is better than much of the junk one stumbles across in the horror genre. It has a point of view, at least, which makes FROM WITHIN watchable.






~ by johnlink00 on April 2, 2012.

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