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Phedon Papamichael’s From Within

May 4, 2009

Phedon Papamichael’s From Within, an After Dark release, opens with a young couple reading from a book. As we move closer, we quickly realize that Sean is not reading a bible, but a book of spells in some unknown language.  Sean closes the book, pulls out a gun, and tells Natalie, played in what amounts to a cameo by Rumer Willis, that she is not going to like what happens next.  Suddenly, he puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. 

From here, the movie takes off on a fast and furious pace.  Wasting no time, Papamichael shows us a series of brutal deaths, thought to be suicides, each preceded by a frightening glimpse of each victim’s doppelganger.  Once the movie finally slows down, we get to spend time with Aiden and Lindsey.  Aiden is the brother of the film’s opening suicide victim and son of the town’s perceived witch who was killed in a suspicious fire years earlier.  Lindsey, the girlfriend of the town pastor’s son, quickly takes an interest in Aiden, who is quiet, brooding, and not too subtlely heroic.

Evangelical religion, teen angst, paranoia, prejudice, and addiction all play a role in the film as writer Keene seems to have thrown every cliche into the mix.  The characters are all very one dimensional and surprisingly flat.  Adam Goldberg works hard to bring some intensity to the movie, and his final scene is Papamichael’s last ditch effort to really shock us.  However, a fast moving story, an interesting sound track, lots of twists and turns, a few genuine scares, and a surprising ending give From Within a high grade for effort.  This is a movie that tries.

From Within will not stay with you after the final scene, and will not be remembered much at all in the pantheon of horror, but for 90 minutes it tries hard to entertain and on a few levels, does just that.

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