Living Dark : The Story of Ted the Caver (2013)

Director: David L Hunt
Starring: Chris Cleveland, Matthew Alan, Mark Hayter, Circus-Szalewski. USA. 1h 52m

The creepy pasta scene is rarely taken too seriously in the world of horror, as most of the popular stories are usually upvoted by teenagers, the hidden genuine creepy gems usually go largely unnoticed. It’s not until a couple of 12 year olds try to ritually sacrifice their friend to Slender Man, that a few more people finally wake up to the range of stories and twisted tales that were being shared and obsessed over in forums worldwide.

In 2017 there was a high profile remake of a simple creepy pasta story Channel Zero, pulling it out a mini series, which, for me really killed the power and pace of the short story, the attempt failed to amplify the condense scare into something of a laborious melodrama was painful to get through.

Now you’ll need to take into account my non popular opinion about films as I dig deep into this cinematic version of one of the oldest and possibly the first creepypasta and legendary internet legend.

Two estranged brothers are forced together when meeting up for their fathers funeral and accidentally stumbling onto a boarded entrance to a nearby cave system, it seems this was their fathers final project, Ted (Cleveland) being an avid caver like his father insists investigating the cave with the help of his brother and another keen caver who knew the family, but unless you have a fear of the dark and/or confined spaces this might just have no effect on you, there are no fancy monsters and chases through tunnels, hardly any blood but instead an increasing sense of fear and an unknown foe.

For it’s limited budget and no/little use of special effects there’s a lot of cinematic technical wizardry to illuminate the dark forces lurking within the cave. The brothers relationship is what really holds the film together, their tough love approach is not only authentic but adds a gripping touch when the movie. It’s definitely a film that boasts an atmosphere as it’s centre of attention and with a brooding sense of doom that hangs over every character it’s more of a thinking man’s horror than bucket of blood shocker. If the films feels a bit dated, even for 2013, there was a bit of delay in release and it was actually filmed in 2008!

There’s a consistence to the tempo of the movie but as the brothers dig deeper whatever is lurking in the darkness being to make themselves known not only in the cave but their personal lives too, this is when the film takes a slightly different path to the original story, so if you’re familiar with the story then it might be worth checking out this alternative version which “reads” better on screen.

Now I might have the unpopular opinion here, but out of all of the Pastas adapted for the screen, this is probably one of my favourites, I really enjoy what David L Hunt has with the idea of the unknown darkness, there’s a palpable terror, something that HPL may have touched on in the early stages of any of his classic stories, but even without maximising on the visuals there’s still a deeply moving narrative, as the brothers do a bit of soul searching while this strange phenomena is stalking them. It’s more of a theory of horror, a spiritual haunting more than Decent style cave monsters and a very successful adaptation which keeps true to the blog left online by Ted which still gets a lot of traffic as people fuss over the details and secret messages within. Not sure what Freud would say about a group of men being so obsessed with squeezing themselves into a tiny little hole like this?


Rating 5/10

Related : Channel Zero (2017-), Slender Man (2018), Unearthed (2007), Deep Dark (2015)
List : Creepy Pasta Cinema



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