Truth is often stranger than fiction. That is certainly the case with “From the Dark,” a low-budget independent horror film about co-workers at a remote resort who are slowly murdered one by one during a late-night party. It’s a scary premise, yes, but in a rather unsettling twist – and entirely unbeknownst to filmmakers – leading lady Wyn Reed, whose character shoots and kills someone onscreen, had shot and killed a man in real life prior to landing the role! A true-crime saga like no other, it’s a sordid tale that only Keith Morrison of “Dateline NBC” could properly tell, and, indeed, the legendary broadcast journalist covered the case in a 2021 episode of the investigative series, as well as in a six-part podcast special, both titled “Killer Role.” As summed up by NBC, “An actress playing a killer in a horror film is so good, you’d almost think she’d done it in real life. Turns out she had.”
“From the Dark” was the brainchild of Matthew and Trinity Spickard, an Oregon-based father/daughter writing/producing team who couldn’t have imagined the real-life drama that would follow the 2018 shoot when it came to light that Wyn (real name – Aisling Tucker Moore-Reed) had been out on bail during the filming, awaiting trial on a manslaughter charge for killing her uncle, Shane Moore, on July 26, 2016. A sad outcome to what was, by all accounts, a fun and fulfilling shoot, though the brouhaha no doubt drummed up interest in the movie, which is currently available to rent on Amazon.
Described as a “rural murder mystery thriller,” “From the Dark” actually makes for a pretty arduous watch (and yes, I sat through the entire 92 minutes and 49 seconds!) – even with the behind-the-scenes drama that permeates it. Aside from a positive comment left by the director’s mother, Amazon reviews are downright scathing, with one viewer lamenting, “It was a painful chore to watch” and another deploring, “Pretty sure this script was meant for a porno and they changed their minds. I really can’t believe that they are charging $5 for this. It was bad. Like bad, bad.” At the very least, the movie’s backdrop is picturesque!