“Weird, Disturbing, Fascinating, A Must See”
...and I don’t say that very often. One of the rarest and most delightful pleasures of running House of Mortal Cinema is popping a review disc I know very little about into the player and it turns out to be a likely candidate for one of my films of the year. Andrew Getty’s THE EVIL WITHIN is one of those films. It’s getting a UK DVD & Blu-ray release from Screenbound, and it disturbed and scared me more than anything I saw at Frightfest last week.
Dennis (Frederick Koehler) has special needs and lives in a big house with his older brother John (Sean Patrick Flannery from SAW VII) who is going out with Lydia (Dina Meyer from SAW I, II, III & IV). John buys an antique mirror to go in Dennis’ room and in quiet moments, Dennis’ reflection starts to speak to him.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the reflection tells him to kill, and that in so doing Dennis’ mental problems will improve. Dennis starts off with animals, then progresses to children and eventually adults.
What is surprising is that we already know, from a delicious and cleverly shot opening sequence, that Dennis is prone to nightmares, and that the most recent has involved a demonic entity (Michael Berryman) unzipping Dennis’ skin and possessing him. Even so, neither this, nor several bizarre sequences worthy of David Lynch, will prepare you for an ending that might well be my favourite movie climax of the year. It’s insane, disturbing, brilliantly realised and will have you wishing there were more films like this being made these days.
The making of THE EVIL WITHIN is a story in itself. There are no extras on the disc so here’s a bit about it. It’s writer-director Andrew Getty’s only film. Shooting started in 2002 and finished in 2008 after which Getty (billionaire heir to the Getty fortune) obsessed about the editing until he died from complications due to his long-term methamphetamine addiction in 2015. The version now available was finished after his death.
Obviously any movie should be viewed and assessed on its own merits, but knowing this about THE EVIL WITHIN certainly made me more forgiving of the bits that don’t work while wondering if the scary stuff really was just a bit too close to Mr Getty's actual state of mind. Either way, if you're looking for something a bit different and altogether more disturbing than by the numbers multiplex horror fare, THE EVIL WITHIN is absolutely worth a look.
Andrew Getty's THE EVIL WITHIN is out on DVD & Blu-ray in the UK on Monday 3rd September 2017