Lifetime Channel Movie “Within” Won't Make You Turn The Lights On

Lifetime channel continues switching things up, and is moving away from programming for women focused mainly on true crime docu-dramas to include horror with the premier of “Within”.

When I was asked during Comic-Con to screen this movie for Lifetime (aired Saturday, July 31), it sounded fun so I agreed. I sat us down for movie night, threw the DVD in the player, and since “Within” is described as a horror film I turned off the lights for effect.

How scary can a TV horror film be anyway, I thought.

The synopsis of “Within” goes like this: “Rachel Weiss (Mia Ford) can see evil spirits Within others. She is a sweet girl with a troubled soul caused by this unique gift. After witnessing the brutal killing of her mother, Rachel and her father (Sam Jaeger, “Parenthood” TV series) look for a fresh start by moving to a small town. Rachel quickly warms to her new school teacher Abby Miller (Lori Heuring “Wicked Little Things”), and becomes 'best friends' with classmate Michelle Lowe (Sammi Hanratty “Boogyman 2”).

Sammi Hanratty at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles with my daughter Bianca

When Michelle's penchant for schoolyard pranks turns from good-natured fun to potentially deadly, Rachel suspects that her friend may be less than friendly. Rachel's visions could be the key to stopping a series of violent attacks against the town's children and unlocking the puzzle behind a decade-old disappearance.”

I am not a fan of the scary movie genre, and horror films involving children have always disturbed me. Perhaps it's one of the lingering traumas after my parents took me to the movies at the tender age of 12 to watch “The Exorcist” (I slept with my sister for a month after that!).  Nevertheless, watching a horror film once in a while is rather fun.

However, after giving “Within” our undivided attention for the first 60 minutes we started fidgeting; the film gets off to a slow start, but gains some speed towards the end when the wicked twists become clearer. We got a little frustrated with the characters' predictably illogical reactions to the odd incidents going on around them, a typical feature of horror films, but since it's kids we're dealing with here they are somewhat plausible.

“Within” is a film festival multi-award winner for Best Horror Feature Film at the Tabloid Witch Awards, Outstanding Feature Film at the Big Bear Horror Film Festival, Best Child Actress Mia Ford and Best Supporting Actor Brent Sexton both at the Tabloid Witch Awards, and Mia Ford along with Sammi Hanratty received Best Actress nominations at the Strasburg International Film Festival.

The evil that lurks “Within” makes this an engaging film, and also suitable for a pre-Halloween (Halloween already?) family scary-movie night as long as the kids are tween-aged and up… it won't make you want to sleep unaccompanied or turn on the lights.

Disclaimer: Lifetime Channel provided a DVD and in now way influenced my review of this movie.

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