3 films, 3 very different subgenres. But in each one, it doesn’t go good for women. Here are my brief thoughts on found footage horror Delivery: The Beast Within, religious extremist film Between The Darkness, and living dead husband flick From The Dead.
DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN (2013)
This one starts off in a very unique way—literally filmed and edited as a reality show about a couple going through their pregnancy. But when the show is called off due to unsettling circumstances, the adorable producer cuts the remaining footage as a movie…a found footage movie.
This easily could have been a Paranormal Activity installment, complete with overnight time-lapse bedroom footage.
The dog acts weird around the baby bump, the wife gets marks on her belly, there’s knocking on the front door but no one is there, the wife eats raw meat, it appears the Blair witch drops in to setup stick pentagrams in the nursery, demonic voices show up on audio recordings, you’ve seen it all before, etc, etc.
The eventual possession style delivery in shaky static cam mode is nothing impressive either, but the conclusion is pretty fucked up.
BETWEEN THE DARKNESS (2019)
I found this symbolic film (think M. Night’s The Village) to be quite creepy. It’s a story of the horrors religious people are brainwashed into believing exist. After the death of one of his daughters, a single father lives in the woods with his other children hoping to shelter them from the evils of the world. Instead they are all haunted by visions, dreams, and shadows of some sort of monster that encompasses their struggles with grief, guilt, and fear.
Although we never fully see the “monster”, the blurry glimpses we get make it clear that evil is a woman.
The father worships mythological gods to the point that his daughter believes she is seeing Medusa. His belief system is so earth-oriented he virtually comes across as a pagan witch. Yet he still manages to go all conservative, bringing out his homophobia and racism.
The story focuses mostly on his teen daughter going through growing pains and a sexual awakening. She has a younger sibling the father refers to as “son” near the end, which confused me; perhaps an androgynous looking kid was an intentional acknowledgement of the father’s struggles with women and gender identity. Regularly coming around to tempt him and to try to keep the daughter grounded in the reality of being a female is Danielle Harris as a ranger. As always, she’s so natural it still amazes me that she never had mainstream success in Hollywood.
The suspense does ramp up near the end when the father loses his shit. In a subtle jab at the failure of isolationism, there’s even an invasion of their lifestyle by the “horrors” of modern society…people of color and what appears to be a trans woman.
FROM THE DEAD (2019)
This one is kind of like a Tales from the Crypt episode that runs 80 minutes long for no good reason.
There was plenty of potential for low budget fun considering it begins at a strip club. A two-timing husband argues with his wife, she accidentally kills him, and then she and her husband’s brother work with a witch doctor to resurrect him from the dead.
While they wait…for 46 damn minutes…a sleazy neighbor who knows what they did blackmails them.
When the husband finally comes back from the dead in gray face paint, he kills a few random people in the streets before targeting his brother and wife. If only this brief segment of the film had been the bulk of it, it could have given us suspense, chases, a little more strip club sleaze, and a lot more gore.