Into the Dark

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Into the Dark TV Poster Image
Smart series has blood, gore, some iffy messages.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Pitch-black in tone and content, this is no place to look for any kind of positive themes. 

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are generally presented as either clueless jerks or actively evil. Some episodes have iffy gender representations galore, such as "The Body," in which a woman is flirty and seductive with a violent man who doesn't even seem to like her. 

Violence

Violence and gore is heavy and sometimes sexually tinged: a dead body wrapped in plastic is dragged around, a man's throat is slit with gouts of blood, a man holds a knife to a woman's throat while she flirts with him, a character is stabbed in the head and suddenly killed. Characters gruesomely mutilate and dispose of a dead body; we don't see the body being chopped up and dissolved, but they narrate their actions "Guys, the skin is coming off! He's leaking!" 

Sex

Sexual content varies by episode, but expect mature jokes and references that may have a gendered slant, such as when a man talks about sending "unsolicited dick pics" to a woman friend. 

Language

Cursing and language is common: "s--t," "f--k," "f---ing," "bitch," "damn," "s--thead," "hell," "a--hole," "d--k" (referring to the body part). 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Like sexual content, this varies by episode, but in one, partygoers are seen guzzling liquor and having it poured into their mouths, as well as snorting lines of white powder. Some characters smoke cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Into the Dark is a horror anthology series with movie-long episodes each overseen by horror production company Blumhouse Productions. Expect extreme violence: Characters are suddenly and messily dispatched on-camera -- stabbed, throats slit, shot, bludgeoned -- often with sickening noises on the soundtrack and dripping, pooling, spurting blood. Violence may also have a gendered/sexual tinge, as when a man stabs a women in the middle of kissing her. Sexual content varies by episode, but can include kissing, references to sex, and rude jokes about sex. Language is frequent: "f--k," "f---ing," "s--t," "a--hole," and the like. Substance use and abuse also varies by episode, but can include cigarette smoking, drinking, snorting of white powder. 

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What's the story?

Created by Blumhouse Productions, known for its low-budget, smarter-than-usual horror fare, INTO THE DARK is an anthology series of movie-length episodes, each taking on a different terrible topic: a hitman who loses his latest dead body on Halloween, a woman who suspects she's in danger as she nears the anniversary of her mother's death. Filled with terrifying visuals and scares, this anthology is meant for those who prefer their thrills on the ghoulish side. 

Is it any good?

Viewers who like their horror in the cheap-and-dirty (but clever) Blumhouse mold (Get Out, The Purge) will find tricks and treats in this smart, gory, not-for-kids anthology. But like its movie output, Into the Dark likes to wallow in gore galore, and the strength of each episode can vary in quality. Things get off to a stylish start in the first episode, "The Body," set on Halloween night and centered on the comic/horrific fallout when a hitman's tires are slashed as a prank, leaving him with a plastic wrapped body and no way to get it to its agreed-upon dumping spot. It's a good setup, particularly when the hitman finds his way to a Hollywood Halloween party, where his bloody face and bloodier dragged body are considered a particularly good costume. "Is that animatronic?" gasps the dazzled host. 

Blumhouse knows to make a lot of a little, and the grim city locations and well-written interactions between cast members make "The Body" fun to watch. But it loses a star for lots of regressive gender messages, with a female cast member panting endlessly over the hitman, who growls at her no less than three times: "There is no 'we.'" Whereupon she follows him around like a puppy and tries to kiss him. At one point she even talks to herself in the mirror: "Is this crazy? You don't meet guys like this every day. He's smart, he's strong, he's employed." Ugh. Considering how female-centric horror audiences can be, it's a bad idea to start out this way, even if "The Body" does turn the tables -- no spoilers! -- later on. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Into the Dark's strong violence. Is violence always necessary to horrify or to express a dramatic point? Should this show be less violent? More violent? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • What's an anthology show? Can you name any others? Why are there more horror and science fiction anthology shows than other kinds? 

  • Is this show scary? What elements make it a horror show, and what elements are more like a thriller?

TV details

For kids who love scary stuff

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