I Will Follow You Into the Dark: Film Review

Audiences are unlikely to follow suit for this sluggish and rote chiller.

A woman battles paranormal forces to rescue her missing boyfriend in Mark Edwin Robinson's horror film.

Despite its spookily romantic title, I Will Follow You Into the Dark succeeds as neither love nor ghost story. Mark Edwin Robinson’s chiller about a grieving young woman who rediscovers her faith via ghostly encounters starts out with a promising air of dread, but it ultimately devolves into yet another rote horror film that in this case lives up to its name by also being seriously underlit.

As the story begins, Los Angeles photographer Sophia Manet (Mischa Barton) -- “like the painter,” she confirms -- is reeling from the recent deaths of her parents, including her minister father who renounced God on his deathbed. After being seriously depressed for a spell, her mood finally picks up when she meets the charismatic, upbeat Adam (Ryan Eggold), with whom she promptly moves in. Unfortunately, his apartment, located in a former state mental hospital whose top floor supposedly is haunted -- it’s where the patients “went to die” -- proves to be not the best choice for a new home.

One night, Adam mysteriously disappears, leaving behind a copious trail of blood that miraculously disappears when the police come to investigate. So the intrepid Sophia, along with Adam’s frequently scantily clad roommate Astrid (Leah Pipes) and two friends (Jaz Martin, Melinda Cohen), make the trek to the empty upper region of the building, where they predictably encounter numerous menacing spectral figures going bump in the night.

The filmmaker attempts to infuse the proceedings with various stylistic touches, including a striking shot depicting the disaffected Sophia standing still as various figures move in fast-forward around her. But the sluggish pacing and rote storyline reduce the overlong film of dramatic momentum, and the would-be horrific elements are so clumsily rendered that they mainly fall flat. And the attempts at adding a Bruce Joel Rubin-style (Ghost) spiritual profundity to the scenario, most notably in a climactic sequence in which Sophia willingly endures death by drowning in an effort to reach her missing boyfriend in the afterlife, are more laughable than provocative.

Opens Friday, Oct. 11 (Epic Pictures)

Production: Castlight Pictures, Zero Gravity Management

Cast: Mischa Barton, Ryan Eggold, Leah Pipes, Jaz Martin, Melinda Cohen, Richard Johnson

Director/screenwriter: Mark Edwin Robinson

Producers: David C. Robinson, Danny Roth, Christine Holder, Mark Holder

Executive producers: David C. Robinson, Mark Darling, R. Jeffrey Conner

Director of photography: Eduardo Enrique Mayen

Editor: Matt Michael

Production designer: David L. Snyder

Costume designer: Tracey Moulton

Composer: Jesse Voccia

Not rated, 111 min.