Movie Review: Dead Inside (AKA The Evil Inside)

The Halloween season is one of my favorite times of the year. You never have a shortage of scary movies to make you second-guess that noise at night. I had a chance to view Dead Inside (known as The Evil Inside in the UK), and let me tell you, this movie will keep you guessing as the body count keeps on rising. I had to watch it a few times to take it all in.

The movie stars Jennifer Zhang (Serena), the creator of the viral “Street Fighter High” videos, and Matthew Mercer (Malcolm), known for his vocal talents for video game franchises including Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Final Fantasy, and Soul Calibur. Other talented actors include Lala Hensely (Sarah), Sage Howard (Lucy), James Adam (Wes), Tara Strand (Billie), Rayne Bidder (Michelle), and Shanda Lee Munson as Sarah’s mom.

If you’re a fan of teen horror movies with a little hint of Asian horror cinema, this could be the movie for you. The movie vaguely reminds me of The Ring with very dark undertones. The visuals are spine-tingling, and it’s got a bit of Inception as layers of the story will have you questioning everything that came before it.

We start with Sarah (Lala Henseley) waking up from a nightmare that we later find out is a haunting memory of brutal verbal and physical beat downs from her high school classmates from her previous town. The word “freak” seems to be popular in this movie as you hear it whispered by voices in a spooky old house. Sarah seems to be a shadow of her former self as she walks dazed and in a weakened state, probably from all the daily medication she takes.

The plot is very simple at first glance, but once you start to discover the layers of the story, everything becomes more and more interesting. You will get a sense of a typical teen slasher movie, where all the teens are in a house, drinking and partying until people start dying.

While Sarah is trying to cope with moving to a new town, she is left alone as her mother (Shanda Lee Munson) tends to her manic-depressive sister. Sarah’s parents contact a childhood friend, Lucy (Sage Howard), to come over to keep her company. Lucy decides this would be a great time for a house party to help Sarah be a bit more popular in her new school. Lucy invites several school friends to the house, not knowing that this might be their last night as friends.

After Lucy dies in the same way Sarah predicted, the group of friends demand for more information. When Sarah answers their questions, the teens decide Sarah should be alone in another part of the house. Sarah has premonitions of everyone’s impending death. While everyone thinks she is a freak, Sarah battles to try to figure out who is trying to kill her new “friends” and possibly her. Meanwhile the teens slowly start to implode, bringing Sarah’s predictions to life with one gruesome death after another.
I liked the movie, even if it was somewhat slow on the action. This isn’t your over-the-top horror-porn genre at all. The acting is very real and does not seem cheesy at all. The visual effects will have you jumping out of your seat a few times, and you will be trying to figure out what is driving this seemingly nice group of friends to kill each other. Is it just the overwhelming stress of being locked in a strange house? Is it just teen drama that is causing everyone to go over the edge of insanity? Or is everything just one big mind game that no one is really aware of? You’ll just have to watch and find out.

Grade: B

For updates and news, visit the Dead Inside website.

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