Shot during the pandemic and about a pandemic but not precisely the ongoing pandemic, Ben Wheatley is returning to smaller-scale horror with In the Earth. Coming from NEON next month following a Sundance premiere, the first trailer has now arrived.

Starring Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, and Reece Shearsmith, as one can see, the film’s plot has clearly been inspired by the current real-world crisis. As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them.

Christopher Schobert said in his Sundance review, “Creating a new film is not the worst way to spend some forced COVID-19 downtime. It is, however, no excuse for making one as tiresome and disappointing as In the Earth. Its sledgehammer allusions to 2020-21 and obviously of-the-moment shooting conditions (from the Deadline piece: “Making a movie outside, in the woods over 15 days, seemed a safe bet”) are distracting. So, too, is Wheatley’s insistence on diving head-first into nonsensical plotting and characterizations. There are no new insights into pandemic mania, and despite strong performances from four well-cast actors, some sharp humor, and a few go-for-broke moments that engage, the majority of In the Earth is an utter slog. “

See the trailer below.

In the Earth opens in theaters on April 23.

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