NEON will release IN THE EARTH in theaters April 16th, 2021
Written and Directed by Ben Wheatley
Starring Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, Reece Shearsmith, John Hollingworth, Mark Monero,
As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them.
The synopsis is intriguing, considering the circumstances of what the country is going through currently and over the past year.
We meet Martin (Joel Fry), and the journey begins on him being tested as he plans to head down this journey to help find the cure. We get some world-building to understand how we got here, but he also finds out that they must trek through a forest for two days to get to where they are going.
Suddenly while in the forest, Martin and Alma encounter something while sleeping in the middle of the night that attacks them. When they awake, their shoes are gone, amongst other items. How this moment is shot is beautiful, so much is happening, but we don’t see who/what it is.
I was thoroughly impressed by the build of the movie. Wheatley does a great job of building a mysterious landscape that you aren’t sure what is going on even when something happens. Wheatley also uses the technical aspects to his advantage, starting with the beautiful cinematography. Nick Gillespie’s color palette in this film is GORGEOUS! We understand this is a horror-like-thriller and set in the dark forest, and how he enhances that with these beautiful colors is mesmerizing.
A score can make or break a film of this nature. Clint Mansell, whose work ranges from Black Swan to The Wrestler to Smokin’ Aces, brings his A-game to the film. It’s a delightfully haunting score that speaks volumes during the biggest moments of the movie.
I spoke about the intrigue of the synopsis of the movie due to what has transpired. Wheatley filmed this last year during the lockdown. What stood out was that he did not make the virus/mask the forefront of his film but the idea of what it would be like when it is all said and done. Wheatley’s writing isn’t perfect, I think the film was a tad too long and did lose its way a bit in the second act, but that doesn’t take away from what he did with the film as a whole.
The final act takes a turn for the wild and brings a very claustrophobic sequence that I wish I would have been able to see in theaters. With the technical aspects of the movie, I would highly recommend checking this one out in theaters.