Thursday, April 2, 2020

Review: Into the Dark: Pooka Lives (S2E7)

Release date: April 3, 2020
Running time: 80 minutes
Starring: Malcolm Barrett, Felicia Day, Rachel Bloom, Wil Wheaton

Into the Dark is a Hulu collaboration with Blumhouse to make a monthly movie-length horror feature from Jason Blum’s independent TV studio. Each feature-length installment is inspired by a holiday and features Blumhouse’s signature genre/thriller spin on the story.  In season 2, episode 7, Pooka Lives, a character from season 1 episode 3 returns to terrorize a small town. 

After an incident that caused a famous internet influencer to despise him and ruin his career, New York writer Derrick (Barrett) returns to his hometown to lay low with some old friends he hasn't kept up with since he left.  Derrick has to start over, taking a low ranking writing job at a local toy company, in order to try to make a fresh start.  However, the company he is working at created a popular children's doll named Pooka, and when Derrick and his friends decide to have a little fun and create a creepypasta, they realize that maybe they bit off more than they could chew.  Pooka Lives is first and foremost, fun.  It gathers a fun group of characters to make this campy horror film entertaining.  The group of characters are a pretty diverse group with good chemistry between them.  They each have different backgrounds and strengths and their interactions seem natural and fun to watch.  They also have good chemistry between them to make their general social interactions fun.  They are supposed to be old friends and reminisce about memories and past acquaintances throughout the experience. 

This also translates to the overall feel of the episode: it feels very campy and doesn't take itself too seriously.  The whole Pooka story is silly to begin with, and it helps immensely that the film itself recognizes the silliness and embraces it.  The episode also has some really great cameos, most notably from Rachel Bloom and Wil Wheaton, who start the episode off right.  You can tell that this film was meant to be in the Happy Death Day vein of Blumhouse.  Altogether, this feels like a throwback to my childhood horror shows, when I would stay up watching Are You Afraid of the Dark?  It has a similar feel and as long as you don't take it too seriously, you'll find find plenty of enjoyment in this campy horror episode.The effects aren't great, but that is part of the charm.  The Pooka dolls aren't too complicated, but also don't overuse CG to break the fourth wall.  The Pooka characters are all costumes so although it is silly, it doesn't look like the characters are running from an imaginary monster.  

Into the Dark: Pooka Lives has a fun, diverse cast of characters in a campy horror episode that forgoes CG and extra gore for plenty of fun, a few scares, and lots of enjoyment.

Watch it.

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