In the Dark (2004) Poster

(II) (2004)

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This is no Blair Witch Project!
FrightMeter6 January 2009
Count me as one who loves the whole documentary sub-genre of horror created by "Cannibal Holocaust" and made popular more recently by both "The Blair Witch Project" and "The Last Broadcast." Though not a huge explosion of these types of films have popped up, there is a handful out there, such as "Strawberry Estates," "The St. Francisville Experiment," and "The Collingswood Story." These films attempt to frighten the audience by giving them a unique perspective of witnessing the events of the plot unfold through the eyes of a character's own camera lense or, in some cases (such as here), a security camera. Additionally, these films often advertise themselves as being "real, authentic footage!" when in fact, any viewer with any brains knows differently. Often times, these films are able to create adequate suspense and uneasiness. Unfortunately, this is not one of those instances and is really a smear and insult to its much better predecessors.

"In the Dark" presents itself as "real" footage of the events that take place when a group of teenagers break into an abandoned, burned asylum, where years before, a few of them did *something* (raped?) to a female inmate that left her scarred after they started a fire to cover their crime. The footage is presented dually through the camera lense of one of the teens and through security cameras present in and outside the building. Why does a abandoned asylum that is barely standing because of fire damage need security cameras you ask? Well, you're guess is as good as mine and that is just one of many things wrong with this film. You see, viewers are to believe that the girl inmate who was picked on knows that these teens are in this abandoned asylum on Halloween night, is able to escape her current institution and come to seek her revenge. She is presented here are sorta of a cross between a possessed Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" and a zombie from the "Dawn of the Dead" remake, which is puzzling considering she is supposedly just a burn victim. Better (or worse) yet, she is able to smuggle of few other inmates out of her facility to help scare the crap out of the teens. You'd think, since money was invested to have working security cameras in the decrepit asylum, that the security would have been a hell of a lot better at the new one! Apparently not....apparently no security cameras at the new asylum captured a few of the inmates walking out to go wreak havoc next door.

The film's main flaw is the fact that is is extremely boring and filled with extremely bad actors who are portraying annoying characters we could give a crap less about. We are subjected to long scenes of one of the more annoying characters filming himself make rude comments and mock his equally annoying mother, and act like a total retard detailing his plan to sneak out while his mother is fast asleep behind him in the couch. This scene has to be seen to be believed and my jaw was dropped at the ridiculousness I was witnessing. Long scenes of virtually nothing happening are presented as apparently the director's idea of suspense; characters whine and fight with each other and sort of act scared, but for some reason never all just decide to group together and leave the place. After all, there was about 9 of them and only one "killer." Again, nothing about these characters is even remotely interesting and I really just wanted them all to die. The film also feels about 20 minutes too long and the pacing is just horrid. I really really had to stop my self from hitting the fast forward button on my DVD remote, or worse yet, just ejecting the damn thing altogether.

"The Blair Witch Project" worked because it felt real. The acting was superb and there was no ridiculous plot elements that felt fake. Everything the viewer saw and heard looked and felt authentic and it was scary as hell. This film feels fake. There is no suspense because some of the things that unfold (particularly the ending) are so implausible that it is an insult to viewers. I only hope that the filmmakers really did not expect people to believe this was "real" footage because they failed miserable. Avoid this borefest at all costs.

FrightMeter Grade: F
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I wasn't involved with this...
Dave17 October 2007
Therefore, I can honestly say, this was TERRIBLE. Firstly, every other positive comment HAS to be made by the people involved with the production. 8.5 rating? Really? Secondly, I love "fake-umentaries", but this was just bad. The acting was terrible... below B-grade. The "great camera work" was... well, up there with the acting. I know they weren't going for "slick", but it was just bad. The production value was actually quite good, which just adds to the disappointing end result. I can never tire of the "faux-cumentary" genre, but it's only been done right a few times. I'll give the filmmakers the credit of coming up with a cool concept, actually getting it off the ground and distributed, but they failed at making anything remotely watchable. Better luck next time.
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When you smell that smell
doctor1310 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I hate movies like this because the germ of a good idea is there and you can see some talent in front of and behind the camera, but the final product is so far off base that it makes me really irritated.

I think the actors were probably good, although it seems they were allowed to improvise too much. A stronger script would have been very beneficial here. As someone else noted, their characters were amazingly shallow. You could take any two of them and swap the actors portraying them and you wouldn't have been able to tell. And all they talk about is drugs. This reveals little about their characters and gets boring after a few minutes, but it just doesn't stop.

Other problems? It takes too long to get to the meat of the story, i.e., getting the kids inside the asylum. We get long, drawn out explanations by a detective and a nurse and the kids themselves filling in the exposition, only none of them can muster up enough enthusiasm to tell the tale without taking mini-breaks for smoking, typing or horseplay. If they don't care about the legend of Lizzie, why should we?

When the kids finally do realize that Lizzie is still in the asylum, they have moments of panic, then they revert back to their druggy horseplay, then another panic, then horseplay, then panic again. It seems to me that if I knew a psycho was running around loose trying to kill me, I would go to and remain on Red Alert and not calm back down like nothing had happened.

The editing was awful. There was no artistic buildup of suspense, the lack of sound in some security camera shots but admitted in others was jarring. I got confused several times about who was holding the camcorder and in fact, how many camcorders there actually were. For a film that claimed to be a real documentary, the use of scary music and hard rock was out of place. The movie didn't know if it was pretending to be a documentary or a real movie.

The good things: while I think the director tipped his hand by showing us LIzzie's scarred face near the beginning, her determined running style was truly frightening. Whenever she ran through a shot, I usually felt a chill. The shot of her face in the window being lit by the flashlight was a good one, too. But I would have given her a weapon. Strangling kids isn't that scary. I liked the idea of her sucking out Barry's eyeball, but if you'd included in the legend that Lizzie carried a sharped spoon for scooping out eyes, it would have strengthened her fear factor. The revelation by Drako (it's not really a twist) at the end was good, but didn't have the umph that it required. And could we have heard some screams as the fire spread and the door was held shut?

I applaud the production of indie films, but this one had such potential and just missed its target. Pity.
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Blair Witch meets the Goonies
Vantec19 October 2007
Shameless asrtoturfing in the comments section, obvious in the first quarter of the film, warranted an IMDb registration. Don't fall for it, 'In The Dark' is one of the most sloppily conceived, hackneyed and unintentionally incoherent films in a long while.

A group of wild teens break into an abandoned asylum on Halloween night to drink and get high and, their story told by the portable cameras left behind, come face to face with a 'presence' seeking revenge. In a vain attempt to relieve that mind numbing string of clichés the screenwriters employ an admittedly novel device, augmenting the shaky cams with scenes from the facility's security cameras. It's unconvincing and forced. All but one camera are so painfully and clearly positioned for the film instead of surveillance the main effect is annoyance. The characters never behave like people, befalling fates through a staggering display of stupidity and complete lack of sense for self preservation. Aware of a threat watching them from an asylum window as they party outside, the reaction is to run into the asylum. When one of them becomes too overwhelmed to cope, in this film's logic the thing to do is put her to bed in an isolated, unlocked and unguarded room away from the rest where she'll 'be safe'. Not that the viewer is given much reason to care. An all-purpose stream of overlapped yells too often substitutes for dialog - in this scene for fright, that one excess, the next one anger. Horror nor gore approaches that of Robocop 2 and the effects are... missing. The protagonists run around all film in freshly laundered pajamas grimacing.

It's not hard to find zero-budget independent horror films that deliver. This isn't one of them.
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Mediocre, but still enjoyable.
Jezabella13 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I watched In the Dark last night. The acting of the main characters were awful, hammy at best. I didn't believe any of it while watching it, I wonder how someone could actually believe the movie was "real". And yes, they were acting, none of it was real. You even see the actors with the director and crew in the DVDs special features.

Good aspects of the movie were that is was scary. Ashame that the biggest scare was at the beginning, when we get our first close-up of Lizzy, making you hope for more intense scares in the climax.

Also, the back story confuses me a bit, like what about the girl that did die in the fire. They said there were two girls in the fire and Lizzy survived. I was expecting her ghost to appear. It makes me wonder if they are planning a sequel with the little talked about dead girl as an added twist.

If they didn't market this movie as being "real" I would have more respect for the movie. Again, most of the acting was sooo bad and it wasn't real campy, something your could enjoy in spite of the quality. Besides the acting, the whole set up, dialog, filming and execution were trite and it insults the viewer.

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save yourself
dawulf22 February 2013
Let me save you and your time and recommend that you Do Not watch this! Occasionally a bad horror movie will have at least one redeeming quality. It's unintentionally funny, it has a creative death scene. even an over the top character that you love to hate. This had none of those.

I watched this movie and was rooting for the characters to die just so it would be over. There is nothing new in the plot, the villain, or death scenes. Why did I keep watching it? I was not the person in possession of the remote. If I had been, I would have watched paint drying on the DIY network instead.

Yet another movie where I think the good reviews are from family and friends of the cast and crew.
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An eerie tale of building suspense
filmreviews-3236013 August 2017
In the Dark is an eerie tale of building suspense, in the style of "Blair Witch," it provides some really good scares for it's audience. In the Dark is really horrifying and will not disappoint fans of true horror films. In the Dark was an Official Selection for the 2004 Chicago Film Festival. Director, Chicago Horror Film Festival
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Surprisingly good horror flick
nalwin7 October 2006
There are so many horror flicks on the market these days one must be a discriminating fan. I got to see this gem at the Chicago Horror Film Festival and enjoyed the fresh approach. This is not your average hack 'em up slasher film. I'm sure other horror buffs out there will enjoy this one as much as I did.

I hope it comes out on DVD some day. It would be a great addition to my collection and I'd LOVE to share it with friends on Halloween! I love it when creeps get what they deserve and Lizzie in this film does an excellent job of dishing it out.

Go Lizzie!!!
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Totally original story. It's a scary film and a kick to watch!
hookupwmarc12 August 2005
The plot is original and the camera shots are amazing. I'm still not sure if it is all real footage like the director says it is in the beginning of the film. If this is actual footage then it is pretty amazing stuff. I heard that at least some of the film is the actual footage from the real events. Either way, it is awesome. Each scene is dream-like and disturbing at the same time. The way the film is edited is wild. My favorite scenes in the film are the scenes in the crazy house and the silent scenes with the surveillance cameras! CREEPY! Plus, the rock-n-roll music rocks. This is one of my favorite horror films now. It will be a cult classic, no doubt. Trippy film! Loved it.
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Very good, refreshing change from normal horror movies.
rehdjac5 October 2006
Wow, this is not your average cheap horror flick. If the documentary like presentation isn't legit they've done a great job selling it. There's some of the minimalist horror vibe that's recently been sneaking onto US shores from Japan via bootleg DVDs and poorly made American rip-off hack jobs, but the atmosphere is unique enough to not really even fit in there.

Some people might compare it to Blair Witch but they'd be doing it a disservice. When I wasn't bored stiff watching Blair Witch I was laughing my ass off. This movie scared the spit out of me.

I don't want to say too much for fear of giving something away, but if you like scary movies in general you've got to see this film. Lizzy Duncan is the new yardstick for how I will measure horror movie "villians". Look the hell out Jason and friends, you've got company.

If you are any kind of fan of the genre, this is a must see.
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