Wednesday, April 14, 2021

In the Earth Review: A Trippy Blend of Folk, Sci-Fi, and Horror

Joel Fry	...	Martin Lowery Reece Shearsmith	Reece Shearsmith	...	Zach Hayley Squires	Hayley Squires	...	Olivia Wendle Ellora Torchia	Ellora Torchia	...	Alma Mark Monero	Mark Monero	...	Frank John Hollingworth	John Hollingworth	...	James Produced by  Andrew Starke	...	producer Jeff Deutchman	...	executive producer Michael S. Constable	...	line producer Tom Quinn	...	executive producer

Release date: April 16, 2021
Running time: 107 minutes
Starring: Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, Reece Shearsmith, John Hollingworth, Mark Monero
Written and Directed By: Ben Wheatley

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. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them.

horror trippy nature dark camping camp science scientist folk folksy atmosphere effects
In The Earth is a trippy sci fi / horror film that will get under your skin and into your head.  The film is set in a near future (it seems) time period where a virus has devastated the world.  But the fact that the film is set out in the forest obscures the timeline as it has a decidedly lower tech feel.  This is definitely not a knock as I think it was a smart choice to do a near future film on a lower budget.  Overall the film has a lot of very smart choices that help to build a very unsettling mood and keep you on your toes.  The film's main thread has you following the scientist and the park scout as they become closer to nature, sometimes unwillingly, and learn more about the sounds and sights of the forest.  The film has several sequences that might be dream sequences or hallucinations letting you experience some of the mind bending episodes that these scientists go through.  And the camera work during these is phenomenal, disorienting you and transporting you to these strange sequences and letting you experience what the characters do.  

And overall, the characters in Into The Earth are all unique and well acted.  It was especially great to see Joel Fry take on a leading role, although his character does have a tendency to fade into the background.  Ellora Torchia was dynamic, and had to go through a range of emotions during her harrowing, trippy ordeal.  And Reece Shearsmith is very unsettling as an unpredictable captor who seems to be listening to something that no one else can hear.  He is magnetic on screen and causes you to be drawn to him but also worried about him!

But one thing to keep in mind is that this film lets you follow a psychedelic journey with intense colors, visuals, and sounds.  If you are prone to epilepsy or have issues with flashing lights and strange occurrences, then you will want to skip this one.  The scenes are harsh, like nature, and they can be jarring even if you are normally comfortable with bright and flashing lights.  And there is also plenty of brutality.  The film shows its horror roots during some of the more visceral scenes.  There aren't a lot of them but when they come, they can be tough to watch.  But that is definitley not a knock.  The brutality was realistic with great practical effects, and the scenes were put to good use to show both the unsettling nature of some of the characters and the brutality of the nature that they were studying.

But Into The Earth's biggest problem is its story.  The film is a wonderful, atmospheric and interesting scifi / horror blend that just never really comes together.  There are paganistic and scientific ideas spliced throughout, as well as some mental health ideas, but I did not feel that these ideas gelled in the end.  The movie is still a visual and auditory treat, but I was left feeling a little unsatisfied after experiencing this journey.  

In The Earth is a visual and auditory trip, with an unpredictable characters, great effects, and an unsettling story that merges folk tales, science fiction, and horror.

Rent it.

Directed by  Ben Wheatley	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Ben Wheatley	Cast (in credits order)   Music by  Clint Mansell	Cinematography by  Nick Gillespie	Film Editing by  Ben Wheatley	Casting By  Shaheen Baig	Production Design by  Felicity Hickson	Costume Design by  Emma Fryer
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In The Earth premieres in theaters on April 16, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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