Hulu’s monthly series “Into the Dark” presents a new horror experience each month from a wide range of talented artists. This month’s feature is “Down” and centers on a pair of co-workers who find themselves stuck in an elevator on Valentine’s Day.
“Down” is one of those tricky stories where the majority of the action/acting rests on the shoulders of two people trapped in a small space. In order for that kind of film to work it has to meet certain criteria.
First of all, the writing has to be snappy and engaging. If you don’t have that, then no amount of talented acting is going to keep your interest. Thankfully, writer Kent Kubena has crafted a darkly twisted tale that drags the viewer through a nightmarish scenario. There are some good twists, but the plot’s strength is that it relies on character interactions to escalate the tension. Early on we get some friendly banter and interactions to help establish who our primary leads are, but the episode manages to twist these characters around and progressively build to some disturbing revelations.
And that leads us to the other great point of this entry: the two leads. Matt Lauria (Guy) and Natalie Martinez (Jen) give fantastic performances as the two office workers stuck in a twisted situation. The two have fantastic chemistry with each other, so when things are still light and joke-y they play off one another well and it’s easy to believe that something could brew between them. If this had been a RomCom they would perfectly fit the parts. But when things get more dire they’re able to crank up the intensity and bash off each other with the appropiate raw ass attitude that you want.
As for scares, this movie doesn’t pack a whole lot of outright horror. Instead it’s more about intensity and being confined in a small space with one other person and having a horrible revelation thrust upon you. Which, writing that out, sounds terrifying. However, I would push this towards being a thriller with some amount of violence and a touch of gore. In fact, it’s a very light touch of gore, but they manage to splash around a healthy dose of blood.
If I were to nitpick this episode it would be for the fact that it can be predictable at times. Once things start to pick-up you can easily see where the wheels are going to fall off and from there it’s easy to forsee how things are going to play out. And Jen, unfortunately, is subject to some questionable actions that’ll make you smack your head in frustration.
If you have Hulu and you’ve yet to check out “Into the Dark” I would highly recommend starting here. It’s a great episode and if you’re looking for an alternative for your usual Valentine’s Day viewing it’s coming out at the perfect time. “Down” will hit Hulu on February 1st.