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In the Earth

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom


1h 47m

Director Ben Wheatley

Starring Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, Reece Shearsmith

Genre Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller

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A micro-budget horror film shot in secret over 15 days in August 2020 and dealing in some way with the ongoing pandemic. Plot TBA.


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The Guardian by Benjamin Lee

In a flawed yet fierce return to form, Ben Wheatley has crafted a phantasmagoric treat with In the Earth, an ambitious, atmospheric little woodland horror.

Slashfilm by Chris Evangelista

The final 20 or so minutes of In the Earth are downright impenetrable, and while that’s no doubt the point, it doesn’t make the experience any less frustrating. In a sense, Wheatley has successfully recreated the experience of stumbling around, lost in the woods, unable to see the forest for the trees.

The Film Stage by Christopher Schobert

Perhaps months or even years from now, it will be easier to disassociate the film from the real-world details that influenced its creation and give it a second look. In the present, though, In the Earth feels like a project designed to stave up boredom. Perhaps it did, for Wheatley and his crew. For everyone else, the memories of watching will be quickly buried.

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

In the Earth may not run deep enough to grow roots, but it’s the first COVID movie that dares to think beyond what it can see in front of its face, venture into the world outside, and confront how terrifying and necessary it’s going to be to commune with nature on new terms when the nightmare is over.

The Playlist by Jason Bailey

In the Earth isn’t a complete washout; there are moments of bleak humor, genre fans will enjoy the striking imagery and gross-out shivers, and the director has an undeniable gift for setting and maintaining a mood (he gets a big assist on the latter from Clint Mansell’s synth score). But ultimately, it’s kind of a slog.

Consequence by Joe Lipsett

Freed from studio constraints, In The Earth is a psychedelic visual spectacle and a gory philosophical treatise on humanity’s nebulous and threatening relationship with nature. Restless audiences may quibble with the pacing and length, but fans of bombastic visual sequences and discomforting violence will find plenty to like.

Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

By the time Wheatley, who also edited, concludes with a full-on eye-searing weird-out, it’s hard not to feel that he is retreading old ground – that this isn’t a more arboreally lavish A Field in England 2.0.

Variety by Peter Debruge

The film feels right in line with the kind of mayhem that Wheatley has been serving up his entire career, including some graphically gory details that are hard to unsee. And in that way, it’s not unlike the pandemic itself, infecting our brains with sick ideas — which, of course, is just what a certain audience wants from a horror movie.

TheWrap by Steve Pond

Sure, Wheatley’s blend of assaultive high-tech gadgetry and supernatural silliness does occasional reach a kind of glorious insanity – a kind of “don’t mess with Mother Nature” on steroids – but it does so without ever becoming satisfying.


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