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Movie Review: From Within

By Billy | March 10, 2010

Huh.  So a movie review?  I may only review horror and mindfunk type movies, or maybe I’ll start to feel like everyone is entitled to my opinion and spew ignorant reviews about whatever the heck I want.  This IS my blog, so you should be assuming that whatever I wordvomit out to you is, well, my opinion.  I don’t believe in expertise, and I don’t believe in conventional perfection (nor do I believe in absolute imperfection, as a panentheist/process theologist).

From Within

(aka: The Happening only good)

I stumbledUpon the Horrorfest Website and found immediately what I wanted to do with my Spring Break.  All the movies looked interesting and in some way spooky.  The zombie film of the 8 from this year’s selection is a comedy, so I set my mind to “open” and started watching.  I watched Autopsy, which was mediocre enough that I didn’t feel like reviewing it, but ‘From Within’ sparked enough interest, earned solid criticism as I watched, and still captivated me enough to want to say something about it.

The bad things about ‘From Within’ are tiny cracks in the foundation, which bother me because they are evidence of an underlying giant to tackle as a planet.  I am going to quote word for word one IMDB comment I came across after viewing (IMDB right after a movie is a great idea for a movie you think might have more to it than you assumed.  Also, there’s more to everything than you assume).  Ahem, “I thought it was quite refreshing that they showed Christians in a genuine light. From what I’ve seen, most tend to be terrible hypocrites… they definitely don’t practice what they preach. Sure there are good Christians out there but there are good nonbelievers too.”

If we replaced the word Christian with Human, I think you should be kinda upset about that.  Humans do stupid stuff, especially when groupthink gets to play.  Nonetheless, Christianity is put in a horrible light in the movie.  Some unnamed form of Paganism is also thrown out there as another evil.  Eden Lake, for example successfully introduces the viewers to humanity at its worst, but does so with an air of “hey, folks, this just aint right.”  ‘From Within’ left me screaming at the confines of my skull, “No!  We’re not all like that!”  This wasn’t social commentary, it was using a downfall of humanity — violent fear on behalf of ignorant and closed minded religious majority — as a means for a plot.

Side bar – I dislike the term Fundie as referring to a Religious Fundamentalist, as I’d argue that Jesus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Martin Buber, and Yours Truly are all religiously Fundamental.  Radical is another one.  Extremist, too.  Of being those things, I am guilty as charged.  Firstly, using a term like Fundie (as was a word thrown around quite a bit in the IMDB discussion boards and I’ve heard it in conversations with friends) robs a person of their humanity and puts them into a box, but it also puts a bad light on the entire group they represent (without our consent!).  The fundamentals of Christianity hardly allow for lynching, friends.  The prophet Micah sums up Jewish (and a large portion of Christian) fundamentalism with the last bit of his scripture:  What does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and love mercy to walk humbly with your God.”  The fundamentals.

Back to the movie.

Hm.  The pace.  Some might claim that the pace is slow.  I think the society I know is too antsy for things to happen right away.  The first scene involves an incomprehensible language and a suicide.  Lots of people will die, just wait!  The pace moves steady, and allows for each scene to offer something new about the mystery.  It also allows for character development enough that the plot is believable.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for cute girls in getting covered in dirt, blood, and sweat in horror flicks. (See: Manuela Velasco in [REC] or Kelly Reilly in Eden Lake) but I thought Elizabeth Rice did an excellent job carrying the plot, as did several of her co-stars.  Few of the actors were particularly memorable aside from her and her boyfriend(s?) in the film, but none were so horrid that I feel the need to call them out here.

As far as the plot goes.  My taste in plots has turned me into a fiend for movies.  I generally enjoy the pursuit of the perfect movie more than most other aspects of the movie, and definitely more than many movies I do watch (Dog Soldiers, Ice Spiders, Bio Zombie, and of course, Autopsy).  From Within offered enough to keep me entertained, unable to fully predict the ending (and pleased enough with the plot to actively keep trying to guess the ending.  Autopsy, for example, was ridiculous enough that I wouldn’t have been surprised by anything at that point, nor did I particularly care.).

As a horror film?  Huh.  Well.  As a scary horror film, this didn’t succeed.  Of all the movies I’ve listed in this post, Autopsy has been the scariest.  I didn’t mind the lights off, nor will I feel particularly wary of the shadows in my room after I close this laptop.  There are predictable moments where the music gets the way it does in scary movies when you know you’re about to get scared and there’s nothing you can do about it.  The horrific thing in this movie was not made especially campy, nor did it go over the top trying to be frightening.  This is definitely a horror film.  If you are scared by scary movies, this is a scary movie too.  If The Ring, Saw, and 1408 at all appeal to you, I think this one might, too.

I’m wondering now if I’ve given this puppy too much praise?  I had a good time watching it.  I imagine it would have been fun watching it with other people, too.  I will probably show this to someone trying to get into the genre, but not my kid sister, since Night of the Living Dead scared her.

Huh.  I give From Within a 7.5 — that’s someplace between Good and Great, definitely better than So-So, deserving of more than OK, not quite Amazing and definitely not Must See.

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