Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Into the Dark: Uncanny Annie (2019)

Streaming Services: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Into the Dark: Uncanny Annie (2019)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Hulu
Director: Paul Davis
Writer: Alan Blake Bachelor, James Bachelor
Actors: Adelaide Kane, Georgie Flores, Paige McGhee, Jacques Colimon, Dylan Arnold, Evan Bittencourt, Karlisha Hurley, Camden Toy, Liam Graham, Avery Bagenstos, Bloom Li

Blurb from IMDb: On Halloween night a group of college students get trapped in a mysterious board game that brings their darkest secrets and fears to life, where they must play to escape...and win to survive.

Selina’s Point of View:
I actually kind of enjoyed this horror version of Jumanji (1995).

For the most part, I’ve found the Into the Dark series to be difficult to predict where quality is concerned. It’s more like a Black Mirror (2011 -) kind of thing than Twilight Zone (1959-1964). It’s still technically a TV series (distributed by Hulu), but each ‘episode’ is about an hour and a half long horror film. You don’t need to watch them in order and they have nothing to do with each other.

However, sometimes some of the writing or acting can feel a little overdone.

Where Uncanny Annie did have a few moments that made me roll my eyes, it was still decent. It didn’t just act as the horror version of Jumanji, it acknowledged what it was and paid homage. I don’t hate that.

I didn’t find the character of Annie, played by Karlisha Hurley (Nightmare Tenant, Time Being, Do You Mind?), to be all that scary, though. I feel like they could have done better with her. The concept itself was fine, but even on a low budget, they could have made her scarier.

The story did follow the recipe of a truth or dare film. It had the same conflicts and followed similar rules. It’s not where your going to find the most original content, but it’s the kind of film you could throw on during Halloween and use for background noise at a party.

Uncanny Annie didn’t reinvent any wheels, it followed a recipe, and it paid homage to one of the great movies from my childhood. Honestly, I enjoyed it. I’d watch it again.

Cat’s Point of View:
The beginning of the movie felt a little awkward and clunky, but that was short-lived and likely attributed to the character-driven awkwardness within the story. That being said, it doesn’t really count against the overall movie – especially considering the manner with which we learn exactly why the characters are acting that way.

At first, there didn’t seem to be anything unique going on within this college party-gone-awry horror recipe. As the story unfolded, however, I found myself invested in the plight of these kids and admiring the horrific simplicity of the game they played.

There have been quite a few party-game-gone-bad horror films in recent years, but this didn’t feel like it was recycling everything I’d seen before. I also appreciated that the movie didn’t turn into a full-on gore-fest or torture-porn. 

There was blood, but it wasn’t gratuitous. I was also grateful that there weren’t jump-scares around every corner, either. It was imaginative and even had decent effects for the supernatural shenanigans.

When you add in overall well-rounded performances by the ensemble cast to that equation you come up with a really solid Halloween horror flick which I am looking forward to sharing with my teen when the holiday rolls around this fall.

Into the Dark: Uncanny Annie opened the door into quite an interesting packaging of horror for me. We’ve watched anthology films before, where the feature contained multiple stories. This is the first time, I believe, that I’ve watched a movie-length episode of an anthology series. I’m actually excited to see what else the Into the Dark (2018-) Hulu original series has to offer.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.6/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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