Nine 20-somethings go to an abandoned prison to film a fake paranormal hunting television show. Naturally, things don’t go well, but are the horrors they encounter within the dark cell blocks all part of the plan of someone more sinister or has a prank gone wretchedly wrong? This is the general plot of Brian Cavallaro’s Against the Night.
We all know and love the rules set forth by decades of horror tropes. Don’t indulge in your vices, don’t have sex, and most importantly, do not under any circumstances ever, split up. This film has no quarrels about dangerously speeding past all of these conventions within the first ten minutes. It knows how badly you want these kids to be slaughtered. If you love laughing at the cast as they make one obvious mistake after another this is a film to be reveled in.
The film stars such a large group of youths exploring the supposed deserted prison, that it takes time to assign every cliche to its appropriate character. The film opens with a competitive game of flip cup. What started as a competitive game amongst friends, transitions into a game of survival. Something is alive and has a thirst to kill in the prison and it doesn’t take long for the group to believe the killer is one of their own.
The star of the feature is not the cast, but the location: Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA. The film establishes an eerie feel, being trapped inside this prison along with the group. No doubt a lot of thought went into picking a location that gives you a claustrophobic chill, as well as, sheer awe of how intricate the prison’s layout and design is. With a central cathedral like hub surrounded by pitch black cell blocks, the film gives its location new life as it paints its walls, bars, and locks red with the blood of its newest detainees.
If you are a fan of campy horror flicks this might whet your appetite, but I doubt it will satisfy you fully. Like any low budget film, it cuts corners for the sake of cost. The kills come a plenty, but almost always occur offscreen and are not nearly as creative or fun as the genre calls for.
The fun comes more in the omniscient sense as the group entertains the various possibilities as to whom or what is hunting them. The decision to not reveal the evil until the end is a smart one. That and the super-creepy location are the only things differentiating Against the Night from other horror films of this type.
Against the Night will screen in limited release at select cities on September 15, 2017.