Henrique Cuoto’s ‘Haunting Inside’ (2019) Horror Movie Review

When I first heard about Haunting Inside, I was intrigued by the storyline of a young woman with mental instabilities being accosted by what she thought of as ghostly friends. Even the smartest person wouldn’t know what to do if they were confronted with what Sylvia found in her Ouija board, so watching a relative innocent try to decipher dark outside influences and decide what the best thing to do was actually pretty interesting. But did the film deliver?


An agoraphobic woman with autism begins summoning spirits to be her friends while her brother/caretaker is gone during the day, but the more time she spends with the spirits the more it becomes clear they aren’t so friendly after all.

Director Henrique Couto (read our interview with him here) brought some of his Primordial (2015) and Babysitter Massacre (2013) crew back together for Haunting Inside, including Actress/Special FX Artist Erica Blackstock (read our interview with her here), Actors Adam Scott Clevenger, Erin Ryan, John Bradley Hambrick and Joni Durian (The Hornet’s Sting And The Hell It’s Caused 2013 – read our review here) and Film Editor Eric Widing. The film also stars Alia Gabrielle Eckhardt (Amityville: No Escape 2016) and Rachael Redolfi (Popcorn Fodder TV series). Relative newcomer Dan Wilder (Mercury Screams 2018 – read our review here) wrote the script, while the score was composed by Ray Mattis (Babysitter Massacre: Heavy Metal 2020).

I was impressed by Haunting Inside. It was more than I thought it would be. The story had several layers. Lonely, agoraphobic Sylvia (Durian) stuck inside her home and only wanting friends, while her brother, Sam (Hambrick), balanced the house’s finances, his girlfriend, Rebecca (Ryan), and trying to keep his sister happy and safe. Both Durian and Hambrick were exceptional in their respective parts. Theirs was a co-dependent relationship. If her overprotective brother had encouraged her to be more independent rather than keep her safely tucked away, Sylvia may have overcome her fears and found a life outside the house. However, Sam’s guilt over his parents’ deaths and promise to keep his sister safe combined with his desire to have a real relationship with Rebecca bound Sam’s hands, making him always unsure if he was making the best decisions for Sylvia. Little did he know that buying a pile of random board games would be the worst decision of all.

I was a bit confused about Sylvia’s condition. She acted childlike and innocent, as if her brain had stopped maturing at around 9 years-old. Is autistic really the best way to describe her? Not that she wasn’t a fun character to watch. Her exaggerated emotions and naive excitability held my eyes to the screen, even when things got a bit repetitive towards the end. I was a bit bummed that Theodore (Clevenger) wasn’t more a over-the-top character, especially with the great lines he had been given. That guy needed more sass!

Considering the film’s special FX were limited to what basically amounted to Halloween makeup, the ghosts of Haunting Inside were actually pretty dang creepy, especially the little girl ghost (Eckhardt) at the end. Her teeth and the line of her mouth actually made me feel a bit twitchy. I’m blown away by what Blackstock did with such limited resources.

All in all, Haunting Inside is a fun and entertaining way to spend an hour and 18 minutes. If you get the chance, check it out right here!

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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