From the sinister minds that brought you The Purge, Happy Death Day and Paranormal Activity, comes the new Hulu original horror series Into the Dark, which turns every holiday into a complete nightmare. The new horror anthology series will feature different actors in each episode, with a new episode being released each month focusing on a holiday from that month.
Several episodes of Into the Dark has tackled lesser-known occasions like the Ides of March, or “back to school,” and this latest one fits that bill. “Pure” focuses on Daughter’s Day, and follows Shay and her new family on a religious retreat where young girls are made to pledge purity to their fathers.
If you’ve read any of my previous Into the Dark reviews, you know I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of true horror as it usually goes hand-in-hand with me losing sleep at night. Most episodes of this series have been more along the lines of thrillers or even dark comedies and haven’t cost me any sleep. “Pure” walks a very thin line on that front. There’s my warning to you.
After a couple of what I like to refer to as “nope moments” early on, I was able to easily settle into “Pure.” The characters are likeable and the story as immediately laid out in a way that’s very easy to follow. Not to mention, a clearly-defined and easy-to-hate villain is introduced early on.
An eerie energy slowly builds throughout the episode, something Into the Dark has done very well throughout. “Pure” takes that to a new level though as haunting visions and recurring nightmare provide jump scares when you least expect them. It also hits all of the typical horror movie tropes, like a figure appearing in the mirror, but uses them in a very effective way.
Once again, Into the Dark is very well acted. The four main girls, led by Jahkara Smith as Shay, immediately get you on their side and even the constantly defiant Jo, played by McKaley Miller, comes off as sympathetic. Scott Porter, who plays Pastor Seth, does a great job of creating an uneasy feeling about his character right from the beginning.
Now, if I was to nitpick a bit, I did have a few issues with “Pure.” There are a couple of instances in which character seem to react unrealistically to their situations. I won’t get into too much detail so as to not spoil it, but if someone starts vomiting blood in front of you, you’re probably going to freak out at least a little bit. There was also one strange moment in which the girls appear to be caught snooping, only to cut to the next scene without any repercussion.
As far as that tension build I was talking about earlier, while it’s done very well for most of the episode, it almost takes too long. There are one or two too many shots of a mysterious figure in the distance before we really get into the supernatural climax. And that’s coming from someone who really doesn’t like to be scared. I think those who do will eventually get tired of the very tense but incredibly slow build.
I did say I was nitpicking though, because overall “Pure” is actually one of my favorite installments of this first season of Into the Dark. It didn’t cross that line of being “too weird” that I’ve felt several past episodes have. And, while it was one of the scarier episodes, I’m happy to say it’s not going to keep me up at night. Though I’m sure some of you out there would prefer something that would.
“Pure” premieres on Hulu on September 6 and concludes the first season of Blumhouse’s Into the Dark. Be sure to check out our reviews of previous episodes. And fear not! Into the Dark has been renewed for a second season and I will continue to bring you an advanced warning as to just how much sleep each episode might cost you.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”