Written by Brad Keene
Directed by Phedon Papamichael
First it was a Hot Topic-shopping goth boy. Then it was his Crow-worshipping girlfriend. Next it was her distraught father. These three citizens of a small town all kill themselves in rapid succession, and it doesn't stop there. These suicides seem to be spreading like a virus from one person to another, and the local Wal-Greens isn't offering up any vaccine.
The town is rampant with speculations, first of a suicide pact and then later of witch craft. Being a highly-religious community, neither of these possibilities sits well with the locals, and with a little "divine" assistance, they trace the source of the problem to the Spindle family.
Mr. and Mrs. Spindle are long gone. Sean Spindle was the suicide that started it all. This leaves only Aiden Spindle (and, to a lesser degree, his visiting cousin Sadie) to bear the brunt of the blame. Panic and paranoia sends these zealots into such a tizzy that they seem only a hair's-breadth away from a Universal Studio-style pitchfork-and-torch lynch mob. Only the pretty Lindsey is free from the mob mentality and attempts to help protect Aiden--despite the fact that her own boyfriend is practically leading the charge against him.
The suicide "chain letter" (for lack of a better term) seems ripped straight from a Japanese horror film, as do some of the ghostly elements that crop up from time to time. Meaning that although this is an original film, it still seems like a desperate American remake. And I suppose in a way it is, albeit a desperate American remake of a theme rather than a specific film. This hurts its credibility a bit, as it seems like we've seen this all before.
Honestly, the suicide-as-virus idea is an intriguing one, and I think the film could have been much better if it hadn't tried to turn it into something more. When, at the beginning of the film, the goth girl claims that she's being chased by a girl that nobody else can see, we know right away that there are supernatural elements at play here. A suicide meme sounds like something that would have been dreamed up by the great (but mad) William S. Burroughs. This just sounds like something dreamed up by Hideo Nakata.
From Within is a well-made film, and the acting and special effects are good but subdued. Technically, there was nothing wrong with the movie whatsoever. It just feels like it could have been so much more than what it was if a little extra thought and a little extra originality had gone into it. Worth a watch, but I don't think it will be making it into anyone's regular rotation.
"If you're pants are open, can I go in?"