The Dark Within (2019)

Directed by – David Ryan Keith


Starring – Paul Flannery (Ghosts Of Darkness) Kendra Carrelli (Bloody Ballet, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)


Production company – Clear Focus Movies – 2nd Nature Films – Chasing Butterflies Pictures


Distributor – Uncork’d Entertainment


Release date – July 2019

I remember the night of Thursday 18 September 2014 for two very different reasons. The first being that it happens to be the date when we, the good people of Scotland, were given the opportunity to vote in a referendum that would determine if we were to be an independent country. You know, decide our own future, be in charge of our own destiny and all that…… I mean, just who would actually decide to vote to be controlled, nay dictated to, by another country? Who in their right minds would bloody well do that?! Actually, while I think about it, just who would also then vote to leave the most successful trading organisation on the planet and plunge the country into a Brexit oblivion of unknown consequences? I’m guessing that it was the same geniuses on both occasions.

Anyhoo – as often is the case, I digress, because the second reason as to why Thursday 18 September 2014 is memorable is because it was also the evening of the public premiere of a rather fine locally produced horror film, The Redwood Massacre. The film was being shown in a local cinema in Aberdeen to an eager audience of esteemed guests, press and general hangers-on (I shall leave it up to you to figure out which category I fell into) and was a great success. I had already been lucky enough to see an and advance copy of the film from Clear Focus Movies husband and wife team David (Director) and Lorraine (Producer) Keith and had thoroughly enjoyed this slice of Scottish slasher filmmaking. The fact that I also received a press pass to see the film for free at the premier was obviously nothing to do with how much I enjoyed the evening. In fact if memory serves me correctly the movie was referred to by myself as “an excellently ‘bloody’ cinematic  experience……a fine slasher film that for the most part is excellently paced and will have you hooked from the very first minute to the very last.”

Since that time the filmmakers have produced the equally fine Ghost’s of Darkness in 2017 which told the story of two paranormal investigators who are unexpectedly thrown together in the hope of solving a 100 year mystery.  Locked for three nights in a house with a dark and unsettling past, the two investigators must put their differences to one side and work together…… a fine comedy chiller featuring an excellent performance from a certain Paul Flannery, more about whom I’ll be talking about a little later.

A few days ago I was contacted by David who mentioned that their new film, The Dark Within, was due for release this summer and that they were keen to get word out about it. Of course, with the aforementioned track record of the company, I was happy to oblige. So before I go any further let me throw a brief synopsis your way…..

“Tormented by the demons of his troubled past, Marcus Anderson sets on a journey to find the answers to a mystery that has plagued his life ever since he was a small child.
Things take a sinister turn for the worse when Marcus realises the truth is far more terrifying than anything he could have possibly imagined.”

It seems clear that the team have intentionally moved in a slightly different direction with this latest film which features a more ‘slow-burning’ psychological subject matter than their previous offerings as we witness the central figure, Marcus, acting on the advice of his analyst and revisiting the scene of his upbringing. Unfortunately for Marcus, that just happens to be in a remote woodland cottage that witnessed the disappearance of his parents and that now harbours a myriad of unsettling secrets. Let’s just say that maybe a holiday for a few days in Bournemouth may have been a better suggestion.

Paul Flannery (yes he of Ghosts of Darkness) plays Marcus, the troubled individual bearing the scars of a rather unconventional upbringing in a film that is far less of an ensemble piece on this occasion than before. As a consequence a huge amount is placed on the actor’s shoulders as he portrays a man struggling with trying to reconcile his complex past.

At the risk of being overly gushing in my praise I have to say that  Flannery is excellent and utterly compelling throughout. In Ghosts of Darkness Flannery’s performance (with a noticeable nod to some notable old school performers) was hugely entertaining with an array of facial expressions and comedic one-liners all delivered with confident aplomb. This in no small part was aided by Flannery’s background in theatre and in various roles on in the Edinburgh Fringe as well as his ultra-successful live show variation of the 90’s classic tv programme, Knightmare. However, in The Dark Within a far more serious and emotional range is needed as his character faces losing what is left of his sanity as he slowly loses the distinction between reality and delusion.


Of course, I also don’t think it harms to be the co-screenplay writer. Now I’m not saying that this means that as a writer/actor you simply go ahead and give yourself the best lines, far from it your honour – but I don’t suppose it makes things overly difficult……..(My legal team advised me to include that last disclaimer just in case Mr Flannery decides to sue the pants off me). I shall certainly find out if he intends to do so when I speak to him later this week, the video for which will appear on the 5D YouTube channelin due course.

It is refreshing to see a filmmaker take chances in producing a film which takes a more measure approach in terms of exploring a number of complex and rather weird themes and this may not please all audiences who like a more frenetic experience in their horror. Indeed there are a few minor quibbles with the pacing, though the film is swept along on a constant wave of emotional dialogue with an intelligent script throughout – occasionally in the quieter and more reflective moments in one or two of the scenes go on a little longer than possibly they should have.

However these are minor quibbles because The Dark Within is a hugely enjoyable slice of psychological horror containing not only a strong central performance, a fine supporting cast,  but also a host of weird and wonderful ideas as well as excellent visual effects. 

Naturally, any film of this nature relies on the fact that it should be suitably scary. You may laugh at the obvious remark, but it never fails to amaze me just how many supposedly scary films actually lack a vital ingredient of being, well you know, erm, scary. Be very clear, The Dark Within is a genuinely scary psychological horror film. I will as usual try to avoid spoilers at all costs but it’s safe to say that there are a number of scenes that will provide any self-respecting chill seeker with their requisite adrenaline fix.

If you want further evidence for my words of support for this film. Then check out the trailer at –


The Dark Within is due for release in July 2019.


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