Review by Lauryn Angel
The Evil Within began production in 2002, but wasn’t completed until recently. Writer/director Andrew Getty worked on the film until his death in 2015, spending approximately $5 million of his own money on the film. Getty claimed the story was based on his own nightmares, and painstakingly created his own sets, camera rigs, and animatronics.
I have to admit that the imagery of the film’s opening caught my attention right away. We’re given background via a voice-over by Dennis (Frederick Koehler), a mentally-handicapped young man. Right away, we’re introduced to the idea that we cannot trust what we see, as Dennis is plagued by nightmares of a demonic figure played by Michael Berryman, and those nightmares bleed into waking life. Dennis lives with his older brother, John (Sean Patrick Flannery), who takes care of him, often at the cost of his relationship with Lydia (Dina Meyer). When John puts an antique mirror in Dennis’s room (for reasons that aren’t entirely clear), Dennis begins to talk to his reflection. Predictably, the reflection is not what it seems, and it convinces Dennis to commit increasingly brutal crimes.
The Evil Within combines practical effects and unreliable characters to create a disturbing film. The narrative is often disjointed – likely due to the fact that it took five years just to film, with cast and crew changing along the way. But the film was clearly a labor of love for Getty and is definitely worth checking out, if merely to indulge your curiosity about a film that took 15 years to make. Another reason the film is worth watching is for Koehler’s performance – as both Dennis and the demonic(?) reflection, he manages to be by turns sympathetic and villainous. Finally, the film is worth watching because the plot takes unexpected twists and turns – to the point that I wasn’t entirely sure which parts of the story were Dennis’s nightmares and which were happening in the “real” world.
The Evil Within is definitely worth the 100-minute investment. It’s a shame that it’s going directly to VOD and DVD, because it’s better than some of the horror movies I’ve seen in the theater recently.