New Ben Wheatley Horror Film 'In the Earth' Set For April Release

In the Earth, the latest oddity from Ben Wheatley, now has itself a release date. Wheatley’s strange tale of the horrors lurking in nature is headed to theaters next month. While it still seems a bit too early to make things exclusive only to theaters, Neon is moving forward with the plan. In the Earth premiered at the (virtual) Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. You can see an ominous poster for the movie below. 

Behold, the poster for In the Earth (or In the Evrth, as it appears to say when you give it a quick glance). The horror film from Ben Wheatley now has itself an official release date: April 30, 2021. And as of now, that’s a theatrical-only release date. I don’t want to go off on a rant here, but I still think distributors are jumping the gun. Yes, the end of the horrible COVID-19 pandemic is in sight. Just last night, President Joe Biden directed all states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. Perhaps Neon’s thought process is that April 30 is close enough to May 1, but it still seems to be a questionable decision.

Appropriately enough, In the Earth takes place during a pandemic. Here’s the synopsis: “As the world searches for a cure to a devastating virus, a scientist and a park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them.”

The name of the virus is never mentioned, but Wheatley wrote the script with COVID-19 very much in mind. “I wanted to make a film that was contextualized in the moment,” the filmmaker said. “Movies I was seeing that had been made but released during the pandemic felt very old-fashioned. No one is talking about what has just happened… Covid is going to mark a generation. It felt like making a film in 1946and not referencing the fact that everyone had just gone through the second world war. In that retrospect, I wanted to make something that would be immediate. To talk about this moment. I wanted to make something about the experience was having right now. And I think that is what horror cinema should be. It takes the moment that we are living in and puts it into a genre.”

I caught In the Earth at Sundance, and for the most part, I liked it. That said, it’s a very specific type of film – it’s weird, and surreal, and the entire climax of the film is a trippy light show that’s bound to piss some people off. Still, those in the mood for some disturbing and strange horror will likely find things to enjoy. As I wrote in my review:

“Wheatley has a knack for conveying a kind of divine lunacy with his work; he tells stories about zealots who are reaching out for things beyond human comprehension, and such reaches often result in horrific violence. There’s a wealth of close-ups here of ruined, bleeding, open flesh; of skin stitched up with foreign objects inserted beneath the surface. It’s all so gross and weird and kind of wonderful.”

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