Starting this week with the new infection theme, I wanted to watch something to start that wasn’t entirely focused on the infected since I assume most of the crap I’ll be seeing for the rest of this theme is basically going to be zombies/infected galore. Dead Within takes the spotlight away from the threat from without (the infected) and refocuses on the threat within (our own minds). It deals more with concepts like desperation, depression, and the sense of being trapped both physically and mentally.
The story focuses on Kim and Mike, two survivors hiding out in a cabin after a global plague that is never referred to as being zombies but it’s zombies. The real central focus, however, is specifically on Kim and how she deals with what is going on. Mike will leave to get supplies, often coming back later and later as he has to look farther and farther for anything that hasn’t been picked over. Kim goes through these same motions over and over again. Washing the same dish. Scrubbing the floor. Painting the wall. Practicing the guitar. Again and again she does these while time skips about and she (as well as the audience) begins to need the ability to simply get out no matter what that means.
The movie has a very clear idea of what it wants to do and it does it well enough. The title alone, Dead Within, refers to the depression and the concept of being “dead inside” that comes from that. We see the continued loss of those around Kim from her friends, her child and even her dog but she never has any sort of agency in it. Mike takes care of everything. He killed all the aforementioned loved ones. He is the one that buried them, leaving Kim inside the house. He is the one that goes to get supplies, again leaving Kim inside the house. When at one point the water stops working, he says how he can fix it while Kim is shown just impotently moving the handle back and forth just hoping that it will start working again on its own.
That scene can actually be taken as a metaphor for the entire relationship. Kim is given no ability to do what she wants or to even hold on to the things she wants. You could definitely view the movie as a metaphor for an emotionally abusive relationship. Mark takes everything that Kim had away and makes it so that she is entirely dependent upon him. He marks on the refrigerator to show how many “trollers” as they call them he saw or killed but we have nothing to go on but his word. SPOILER ALERT for the end of the film: At the end when she ends up killing Mark, we see him go back and forth between being infected and being normal, showing how she sees both the man and the monster inside him. Then when she finally runs free and it shows her with the black eyes of those that have been infected you can also take it to mean that just like the infected came back to life, so too did she finally become resurrected in her rejection of Mark. End Spoilers!
I give the movie a 3.5 out of 5. I would love to give it a higher rating but I think the things it does to drive home the boredom and monotony of Kim’s everyday life ended up being a little too boring and monotonous.
Favorite thing in the movie: The cat picture that she keeps talking to.
Least favorite thing: The couple effective jump scares they have were marred by having some really piss poor cgi effects accompany them.