Because Within is yet another movie about a haunted house in which various things go bump in the night, it needed to offer something fresh and exciting to the genre if it was going to make the cut. Failing that, it needed to be exceptionally well shot, led by world class performances, and pretty darn terrifying. Unfortunately, Within does none of these things.
Audiences are presented with, for what feels like the umpteenth time, an ill-fated family that consists of a clueless father, a rebellious teenager, and a mother who just wants everyone to get along. The plot centres around this threesome as they move into a big new house in a nice new neighbourhood where (you guessed it) not everything is as it seems.
The movie gets off to a fairly weak start, laden as it is with that tired premise and with dialogue that is often so clumsy and clunky that there are times when viewers can easily imagine the words tumbling limply out of the actors’ mouths in sad, damp little speech bubbles that make dull slapping noises as they inevitably drop to the floor. The editing is choppy, the music is often hammy and overdone, and any empathy that we might have felt for any of the characters as their terrifying ordeal goes from bad to worse is smothered by their resounding blandness.
Equally, there are some decent jump scares and gross-out moments, and the film builds tension in subtle and creative ways once or twice, giving rise to an optimism that maybe the movie will come into its own in the second half. However, this hope turns out to be false. A few moments of cleverness are not enough to elevate Within beyond everything else that is wrong with it, and the final act is so ludicrous and unsatisfying that any halfway decent scares are forgotten by the time the credits roll.
Within is released nationwide on 24th February 2017.
Watch the trailer for Within here: