Thursday, April 15, 2021

In the Earth - Movie Review

The Movie: In the Earth

The Director: Ben Wheatley

The Cast: Joel Fry, Reece Shearsmith, Hayley Squires, Ellora Torchia

The Story: As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run.

The Review:
I like that this movie is set during a pandemic although not the pandemic that we have been dealing with in real life and also the whole story takes place in a forest park so it's isolated from the rest of the world's suffering. The movie is a very dark and atmospheric horror movie that digs deep into psychological and societal themes to bring out the more frightening aspects of the story rather than relying on shock and awe or buckets of gore to be effective.

Director Ben Wheatley is known for his work in the horror genre as well as films like sci-fi drama High-Rise and Free Fire which is a really fun and stylish shoot em up type movie. It's always interesting to see a filmmaker explore such a wide variety of genres and then come back to revisit one while putting a new stamp on it as well. The pacing of this movie is very methodical and at times gets pretty intense, especially when Wheatley cranks up the gore factor even for just a few seconds here and there.

The casting for this movie is pretty spot on with Joel Fry in the lead role as a scientist sent into a forest park area to do some research during the pandemic. Ellora Torchia plays a park ranger who acts as a guide to Fry's character although, this being a horror movie, she guides him right into danger. The pair work well together although aren't really given a whole lot to do except react to crazy lights and sounds in the forest or try to escape the clutches of evil.

I think there's a lot to look at with this movie and Wheatley is clearly trying to say a lot with the story he has written, I just don't think he hit the intensity level he was shooting for which dampens the whole experience. There are a few really great moments in this movie, it just takes a while to get to them and I'm not sure if those spaces in between make the entire journey worth the effort. The movie was fine and for the most part I was entertained, I just feel like this one will get lost in the shuffle as time goes by.

The Verdict:
In the Earth digs deep into psychological horror while taking jabs at societal and cultural issues. Uneven pacing and a story that isn't as engaging as it needs to be keeps this movie from rising out of a crowded field of entries into the genre.

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