Adapted from the short film of the same name, They Live Inside Us is the feature directorial debut of Michael Ballif of Utah-based Witching Season Films.
Set on Halloween, the film recounts the story of a struggling author who visits the local haunted house and gets more than he bargained for.
While it is so easy to fall into slapstick and blood splatter, They Live Inside Us is a very different beast which focuses on the relationship of the widowed parent and his daughter. While the scares do come in time, the film does spend a considerable amount of time with these characters before things shift into gear.
The writer is attempting to write a scary story and quickly finds out that most ideas have been done to death, which is something I’m sure a lot of horror directors and writers can relate to.
We recount his struggles through a number of different tales, including a killer scarecrow, a slasher killer and also a twisted killer clown. In terms of execution the tale of Choppy the Clown is the most effective, with the clown falling somewhere between Pennywise and Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
This certainly feels more like a haunted house tale than a full blown anthology, although there are breadcrumbs throughout which tie everything together as we draw closer to the finale.
It is beautifully shot with some stunning cinematography and a pulsating synth score from Randin Graves, which feels like John Carpenter on steroids.
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, They Live Inside Us is a solid celebration of the Halloween season, and a stern reminder why this is the best time of year for horror fans.
As a starting point for feature directing, there are encouraging signs here from Ballif which keeps us intrigued what project he will unveil next.
They Live Inside Us is available now in the US on iTunes, DVD and Blu Ray.
**** (4 stars)