Into the Dark 8: All That We Destroy



Main Cast: Samantha Mathis and Israel Broussard

Director: Chelsea Stardust

So let’s say you think you’re son is developing into a serial killer.  He’s spent his adolescence killing animals and one time in 6th grade accidentally killed a classmate, causing you to take him away from society, into the hills, where you home schooled him and one day you come home to find he’s killed a woman he found stranded by the side of the road.

Do you a) turn him in, b) hide the body and cover up his crime, or c) seeing as how you are, by trade, a geneticist, create a series of clone bodies of the woman he killed in hopes of studying why he feels this compulsion and, hopefully, curing him of it?

If you’re Dr. Victoria Harris (Samantha Mathis, PUMP UP THE VOLUME), you go with option C, of course.

Episode 8 of Hulu’s Into the Dark series, ALL THAT WE DESTROY, written by Sean Keller (GIALLO) and Jim Agnew (also GIALLO) and directed by Chelsea Stardust (I totally believe that is her birth name) is a quiet movie, simply told with very few twists and turns, as pretty much everything is laid out in the opening ten to fifteen minutes.

Victoria’s son Spencer (Israel Broussard, HAPPY DEATH DAY) is killing Ashley (Aurora Perrineau, TRUTH OR DARE) over and over, then trying to explain his feelings in a journal afterward for his scientist mother’s own edification.  Spencer doesn’t really want to do the writing exercises, and honestly only seems to be giving a half-hearted attempt at the murders themselves, equally baffled as to why he’s doing it as his mother, and just as equally trying to find some understanding in the constant repetitive nature.

The cloned Ashley comes back each time with no memories and no knowledge of her counterfeit nature, believing the lie Victoria tells her every time, that she was in accident and Spencer found her and brought her back to be taken care of.  Why doesn’t Spencer ever come to introduce himself?  Because he’s very shy.

The real reason is that Victoria learned early on that the newly-awakened Ashley shells were nothing more than the same lifeless matter Spencer reduced them to when he murdered them again, soiling his experience and, she believes, insuring he’ll kill again the first chance he gets. So this time, Victoria is trying to give Ashley some experience, try to show her an edited version of her previous life via online photos.

Meanwhile, Spencer is meeting an actual girl when Marissa (Dora Madison, BLISS) moves in nearby, staying a while to take care of her parents’ house while they’re away.  Marissa is immediately attracted to Spencer and the feeling is mutual even though the guy has no idea what to do with these feelings.  All his life he’s known the deadly path he was headed down.  And now he’s not so sure.

And the Ashley clone is starting to dream about her original death.  But for Victoria, everything is falling apart and her scientific ordered life isn’t so ordered anymore.

While I enjoyed ALL THAT WE DESTROY–it was very well-shot and acted–I just didn’t get a real sense of horror from it. Sure, there’s murder and whatnot, but at the end of the day, I’m not even convinced killing is something Spencer wants to do.  I think he does it over and over out of the same weird kind of curiosity his mother expresses, plus a loyalty to her he doesn’t want to betray. As you may have guessed, this is the Mother’s Day installment of Into the Dark.  For so many years, it’s just been Spencer and his mother, so if she moved him all the way out here to study this phenomenon that’s going on inside him, surely he wouldn’t want to disappoint her.

And that’s all well and good but when your main antagonist is killing people out of a sense of obligation, and when he tells you outright in act three that he doesn’t want to do it anymore, it sorta takes the wind out of your horror sails.

There was a point where I started to wonder if maybe all of this was wrong and Victoria was really the evil one manipulating Spencer into believing he was a killer, but even that potential plot threat never amounted to anything. Basically, the plot is exactly as simple as it sounds with no hidden agendas or twist endings.  The writers of ALL THAT WE DESTROY crafted a decent enough script, but best drama it ain’t gonna win.  Definitely worth a watch, just leave your expectations at the door.

More Into the Dark:

The Body ~ Flesh and Blood ~ Pooka! ~ New Year, New You ~ Down ~ Treehouse ~ I’m Just F*cking With You

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