ON GENERAL RELEASE
Directed with a heavy hand by Phil Claydon, Within is a haunted house thriller that lacks scares, suspense or ingenuity.
Screenwriter Gary Dauberman telegraphs his intentions so far in advance that when the terrified home owners finally piece together the glaringly obvious clues, we greet their moment of wide-eyed realisation with snorts of derision.
Indeed, there are more unintentional giggles than spine-chilling jolts, like when a bespectacled tyke casually blurts out to the film’s teenage heroine, “You know how every neighbourhood has that one creepy house? Well, you’re living in it!”
The protagonists at the centre of this suburban nightmare behave recklessly and repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way so it’s impossible to muster compassion or concern for them when the blood-letting begins in earnest.
Production values look cheap and during 88 plodding minutes, director Claydon choreographs a solitary memorable sequence: a lingering shot of the teenage daughter’s face, caught in the reflection of a glass-fronted kitchen unit, as something unspeakable emerges from the darkness behind her.
Within unfolds predictably, without a smouldering ember of dramatic tension.