This was a film I decided to check out as I wanted to do a St. Patrick's Day special on my podcast. I wanted to do a new horror movie that would fit the theme and thankfully I didn't have to look far due to Into the Dark from Blumhouse. I just knew of this and figured that it probably had something to do with a bar crawl. Other than that I came in blind. The synopsis is on Saint Patrick's Day-a night of wild parties and drunken revelry-three unlikely friends' band together to save a college town from a vicious horde of body-switching aliens.
Now I'm going to give you the premise of this a little bit out of order. We're seeing a video of Shauna (Giorgia Whigham) who is into conspiracy theories. She gives us the background of the town she was born and raised. It is a college town that takes St. Patty's Day very serious. We see a newer police officer, Dominic (David Carzell), call in when she sees a bunch of people who are intoxicated creating quite a ruckus. He's told to stand down, but while he's looking at some women, he hits someone. He gets out and checks on them. The person then bites him. Shauna then tells us that it's not zombies, but aliens.
We then are following Misty (Pepi Sonuga) who is bummed that her friend, Chloe (Jude Demorest) didn't invite her out. She's been mopey and considers sending a passive aggressive text, but decides to just show up instead. Chloe is happy to see her and she introduces Misty to her new friend, Yuejin (Olivia Liang). Chloe seems like the queen of the bar and is running things.
A guy orders her a drink and it looks like he's the president of his fraternity. His name is Aaron (Cameron Fuller). Sitting with him is his friend Michael (Zachery Roozen). This man is the reason that Misty is in a funk. She believes she was drugged and woke up in his frat. She thinks he attacked her, but cannot remember. Chloe has distanced herself and Misty is upset that she feels her best friend doesn't believe her.
Things take a turn when Misty thinks she sees Chloe leave with Aaron. Misty was talking to Shauna, the local drug dealer and conspiracy theorist. Misty goes to leave and just finds Chloe's phone. Shauna knows how it feels to not be believed. She takes her to the fraternity house where things aren't as they seem and Shauna is convinced it is aliens. What happened to Chloe and is Shauna right?
Now I'm trying to be cryptic in this review, but to be honest, I didn't even fix the synopsis as we learn this information within the first 15 minutes of this movie. To be honest, the reveal there isn't really that important as it is more about seeing this group of people band together, solve their differences and save the world. What I like here though is the social relevance.
If you've been reading my reviews consistently, you know there was a certain major release that was a remake from Blumhouse that really tried to be feminist film. This movie here does so much better with that message they're trying to convey. It really fits into the story and helps to build things. Misty believes that she was drugged and woke up in Michael's bed. She believes she was assaulted. What I'm a bit confused is that I think she would know if she was or not, or if she suspects, she would get checked out. As a male I could be naïve to this so if that's the case I apologize. I do want to give credit to the performance from Sonuga here though. She conveys the isolation of trying to come to terms with this. The police don't believe her, her best friend doesn't believe her and she's now standoffish toward males. We really see this with Aaron in the movie. Where this works though, he does the right thing in learning from a mistake in not doing more and she sees that. They legit have a conversation and it progresses the plight in a way that is constructive. I will say that it does come off a bit cheesy, but still.
I also like how they introduce the problem of this movie. We learn through Shauna in passing about the meteorite that crashed 40 years ago. As I said, she's a conspiracy theorist as well as a drug dealer so I like that building of the character to not believe her. I wouldn't say that she's unreliable, but she has things that we ignore when it comes from someone we don't necessarily trust.
If I do have any issues here though it is with the creatures themselves. They look like us so it really is a take on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers concept. The problem though is that people get bit and then they change. My question is then, are the people doing the biting have a look about them at first, because if they do, we never seen it. I think at least once we should have before the change is made. Currently that's what I'm assuming and if anyone knows and could let me know, that would be great.
To shift this to the pacing, I thought that overall it was good. The movie runs 90 minutes, it gets right into it with a cold open of seeing Officer Dominic encountering it and then getting our first back-story elements from Shauna. I do have an issue with the editing though where the movie will stop so she can give us voice-over narration. The voice-over wasn't the issue I had with it, but more the stopping of the movie to do this. I thought it was jarring and glad they get away from it as it proceeds on. I don't mind showing the video she is making even though I feel like it's a bit of a spoiler, but I can get over that. I thought the ending was fine for the movie, but not great.
That will take me to the acting here. I thought that Whigham was really good as the lead. I love the quirky character that she plays. She feels a bit slighted by college students in the town she grew up, but she won't let them feel better than her. I like the aspects about her that make her unreliable. She's also quite attractive. I've already covered Sonuga, but I will say I thought she was really good as well. Fuller is solid and I like the development of his character. Liang and Demorest are solid along with the rest of the cast. They fit their roles for what was needed.
As for the effects, overall I'd say that they were good. This movie doesn't use a lot of them though. I thought the bit of blood, both human and alien, we get was good. I don't mind the effects of introducing the character's names like we saw in something like The Babysiter. It did help me establish who was who. I did have some issues with blood splatter though as it was done with CGI. There's not a lot of it, so it's not a major problem. I also thought the cinematography was solid as well.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. I thought the selections fit throughout the movie for what was needed. It doesn't necessarily stick out, but it also didn't hurt the movie either. I did want to comment on a song with the opening credits and the start of the end credits, both of them were really good to the point where I think I might seek them out to add to my collection.
Now with that said, I thought this was another solid installment to Blumhouse's Into the Dark. There are some really interesting social elements that are worked into this story very well with the backdrop of an alien invasion. I even think that it furthers the feminist plight in a way that is constructive and not ham-fisted as well. They're just a bit cheesy. The acting is solid to go along with it and it is paced in a way that keeps things moving. The effects were also pretty good, but I did have some issue with CGI blood-splatter. I also thought the stopping of the movie to explain things bogs it down slightly and I have minor issues with the aliens themselves. None of this ruins it for me and I would say this movie is above average for sure. It is fun where I would consider watching this again with friends.
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