Devil in the Dark, directed by Tim Brown (The Cradle), tells the story of two estranged brothers who reunite years after the death of their father to go on a hunting trip in the hills of British Columbia. We know that something happened to the younger sibling in the same location when the two were on a trip with their father as children, but we don’t know exactly what. We assume we’re going to find out as the film progresses and the brothers meet the titular “devil” (most likely while it’s dark out).

The movie takes its time in getting to the horror, and instead focuses on the characters.

Prepare yourself for a lot of wondering throughout much of the film’s duration as you spend the majority simply hanging out with these brothers as they resent each other (both in the past – through a series of flashbacks – and the present). It’s clear that neither really wants to be alone with the other in the woods for six days, but they care enough about each other to make the effort to keep some sort of relationship alive.

The movie takes its time in getting to the horror, and instead focuses on the characters. Ordinarily, I’m all for such a structure, and it works for a while. But at a certain point, you start to realize that all of this character development hasn’t led to much development at all. After an hour or so, you really don’t know that much more about either guy than you did early on. It’s clear from the get-go that one is the city mouse and one is the country mouse, and unfortunately, they don’t get much more dynamic than that.

While the characters themselves aren’t incredibly remarkable, the actors (Dan Payne of The Cabin in the Woods and Robin Dunne of Species III) do well enough with the material to make them believable. You may get tired of the constant bickering, but anyone who’s been around enough pairs of brothers knows that this is pretty realistic.

Thankfully, at an hour and twenty-five minutes, Devil in the Dark doesn’t have time to become too boring and disengaging before the horror comes in. It’s shot very well, and is generally quite nice to look at; particularly when our characters are out in the wilderness. Even when they’re not, frames are simply well-composed. I can’t say I’m familiar with any of cinematographer Philip Lanyon’s other work, but my guess is that he won’t have any trouble getting work based on this movie. I really wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but it was clear right from the beginning that Devil in the Dark would at least not be visually disappointing.

Some interestingly creepy moments.

But what I’m sure you’re really wanting to know is if it’s scary. Well, it has some interestingly creepy moments–one in particular is helped tremendously by the way it’s shot. When we get our best look at the devil in the dark, it’s not really the greatest looking creature (it also doesn’t look anything like it does on the cover art), but when we catch more minimal glimpses, it’s much more effective. Thankfully, they really don’t show it full-on very much, but on the flip-side, this also means a lot of cuts to the aftermath of these glimpses, which tend to just kind of feel like the movie dragging its feet toward a conclusion.

There’s enough here to make Devil in the Dark worth a watch, but only if you don’t mind a movie that takes its time and are okay with not being entirely satisfied with the outcome. I realize this probably isn’t selling it very well, but as long as you keep your expectations in check, you might get something out of this one. You’ll live if you miss it, but there are a lot worse ways to spend eight-five minutes.

Devil in the Dark hits VOD on March 7th from Momentum Pictures if you want to check it out for yourself.

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