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Into the Dark - Flesh & Blood - Review + POLL



WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

If you liked the first episode of Into the Dark, “The Body” I hope you’ve gotten the chance to check out the latest addition to the series, titled “Flesh & Blood”! It’s been just under a month since the first episode came out and I have to say I’m already enjoying the fact that I’ll have a new one of these to look forward to every four weeks or so.

“Flesh and Blood” differs from its previous entry by being a bottled home invasion thriller. Except, the person invading the house already lives there. I thought this episode did a great job in building tension and suspense. The story centers around Kimberly Toombs (played by newcomer Dana Silvers) and her father Henry (Dermot Mulroney) as they struggle to come to terms with the murder of Kimberly’s mother. The episode is based around Thanksgiving, as Thanksgiving was the last holiday they were able to spend together as a family almost a year before. Although it really could have happened any time in the year since the fact that it’s Thanksgiving isn’t imperative to the story.

Kim struggles with anxiety that manifests as agoraphobia. She cannot leave the safety of her home and the few times she does she has panic attacks. Her current treatment involves antidepressants and visits from her therapist, but she doesn’t seem to be making much improvement.
The first part of the film is an excellent tension builder. We’re constantly on edge waiting for the other shoe to drop as Kim and Henry’s life is established. She spends long hours alone in the house as her dad is constantly out working. The house is under repair because Henry is doing renovations. It’s not the best environment for someone with anxiety to be living under and we start to see the cracks in Kimberly’s psyche pretty early on.

BIRTHDAY SURPRISE


On Kim’s birthday, she and her dad have a quiet celebration. She gets a cake and new necklace as a gift. Except, the necklace may not be as new as it appears to be. While watching a news broadcast, Kim notices a missing teenager in the area is wearing the same necklace her dad gave her for her birthday. This immediately makes her suspicious.

Now to the audience, we have to decide if we think Kimberly is an unreliable narrator or not as not long before, her therapist, Doctor Saunders (Tembi Locke) warned Henry that Kim might exhibit signs of paranoia or delusion if she doesn’t start to coax herself out of the house and start dealing with the trauma of losing her mother so violently. It’s a loaded dose of foreshadowing that Henry will come back to several times over the course of the episode.

Going back to the necklace, this discovery motivates Kim to further investigate and she learns about all the girls who have gone missing in her area over the past few years. Strangely enough, they all look pretty similar. Kim, rather quickly, jumps to the conclusion that her father is a murderer, and while that does end up being true the sudden shift was a little jarring.

THE CONFRONTATION


After the necklace, Kim finds more suspicious evidence of her father’s blood thirst. In the attic he keeps a small box full of jewelry and trinkets. He claims they belonged to Kim’s mother but she thinks they’re trophies from all of his kills. From that point onwards, the episode is full steam ahead as Kim tries to escape but struggles due to her fear of the outdoors and Henry refusing to leave her alone.

This is also where I felt the episode started to fall apart a little. First, we never really get any solid answers as to why Henry is killing these girls or why he killed Kim’s mother. It’s all kind of murky. Then we also get a scene where Henry gets Kim to flashback to the night her mother died and a fight they had, seemingly trying to make Kim think she may have harmed her mother but we never learn anymore about the reason for their fight.

That said, if you put the writing aside, it was still fun to watch Dermot Mulroney go wild. You can tell he was having loads of fun with the role, chewing scenery every chance he got and hamming up lines like, “Happy Thanksgiving” right before he gives her a drug to knock her out, or “How many times have I told you to pick up after yourself?” Whilst chasing Kim into the attic.

If there was any doubt about Henry’s intentions they’re put to rest when he brutally and shocking slits Helen’s (the therapist) throat. That moment in particular was one of the most horrific in my opinion because the suspense and tension builds brilliantly when Helen leans down to pick up Kim’s cry for help written on a small scrap of paper. The moment of realization that passes between Helen, Henry, and Kimberly is well-acted and provides that shocking gasp when it spirals quickly into madness.

THE ENDING


The end of this episode (I feel like I should be calling these films at this point as that would make more sense), has Henry dousing the entire house in gasoline, including himself, Helen’s corpse, and Kimberly. He’s going to burn it all down so he doesn’t get sent to prison, since Kim was able to call the cops on while hiding from him. She is able to outsmart him though, she tricks him into stepping into the hole she made at the beginning when her leg went through the attic floor.

The spot caves in and Henry descends down into the fiery inferno. Kim is able to get out the window and embrace the cool night air. Apparently her agoraphobia is cured now? It’s a rather abrupt ending but I get the sentiment they were going for. As Helen stated earlier, “if Kimberly doesn’t confront what happened, this house will turn from a sanctuary into a cell,” and finally, Kim has been set free.

STRAY THOUGHTS


- Some of the foreshadowing in this, while appreciated was so unsubtle I had to laugh. Kim’s leg going through the attic was a nice touch because I didn’t know how that would come back into play, but I felt like there was so many prolonged shots of the earring on the ground, the one Kim eventually steps on alerting her dad to her intended escape, it was made too obvious it would come back later on.

- When Henry picked up Kim’s phone to see who she had called all I could think was: Girl, it’s 2018 why don’t you have your phone locked!?

FAVORITE LINES


Henry: In all honesty, I just never want to lose you two. You’re the loves of my life.

Doctor Saunders: You need to talk to someone real, someone present.

Henry: Your mom is not perfect. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect.

Henry: The person that killed your mother is still out there.
Kim: He’s been here with me the whole time.

Kim: A man like that, invents excuses to do what he does. To excuse his own sickness.

THIS EPISODE OF INTO THE DARK IS STREAMING NOW, EXCLUSIVELY ON HULU.



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