With the current state of our political climate, I think an important movie for all Americans to watch and discuss is From Within. Although this film was released over a decade ago, its themes are more prevalent in today's society than ever.
Although I thoroughly believe From Within is worth watching yourself, I will give a summary for those who haven't seen it. Grovetown, a small heavily Christian area in Maryland, weaponizes their beliefs to justify the murder of Candace Spindle because she practices witchcraft. Mrs. Spindle’s murder occurs before the events of the film after she was believed to have murdered another citizen, Jimmy Grogan, several years prior. Now when a series of suicides persists in the town, the citizens shift blame to Mrs. Spindle’s remaining son, Aiden and accuse him of putting a curse on Grovetown. One of the main characters I want to focus on is Dylan, the son of the town pastor. Dylan is the main antagonist in the story and represents someone on the far right. He radicalizes Christianity to convince everyone else in the town that the Spindle family worships the devil and needs to be eliminated. Throughout the film the viewer witnesses Dylan’s influence slowly grow until he finally decides to take action. He starts off small by just harassing Aiden at school, making him feel like an outcast and occasionally picking a fight with him. He is also the sole reason why the people of Grovetown hold Aiden responsible for the recent suicides and tries to convince the sheriff of it too. Furthermore, the more confident Dylan becomes that he holds a divine obligation to “save” his town from the “evil” that is Aiden Spindle, the more people begin to follow him and the greater lengths they are willing to go for Dylan’s cause. Just when Dylan decides to hunt Aiden down and kill him, his father, Pastor Joe confesses that he committed the murder that Candace Spindle was punished for all those years ago. He admits that he had an affair with Jimmy Grogan and justifies the murder by stating that he built up the faith in the town he didn’t have a choice but to drown Grogan as he was planning on telling people about his relationship with the pastor. Despite hearing this from his father, Dylan proceeds with his plan to hunt and kill Aiden Spindle, stating that his father’s “weaknesses are his own.”
The reason this movie is important connects to the recent overturn of Roe vs. Wade and the mass banning of abortions. Though this film does not cover the topic of abortion whatsoever, it does give viewers a good look at the corruption within Christianity and the danger of blindly following your religion and pushing it on others. Thousands of Americans today claim that abortion is against their religious beliefs and because of this, abortion should be illegal nationwide. And though hundreds of thousands of people that disagree with this sentiment state that not only do people believe different things but the banning of abortions can be dangerous and potentially deadly to thousands of people, pro-lifers do not listen. Like Dylan, they would rather cause the deaths of innocent people than admit that religion should not be applied to the pursuit of justice and the upholding of the law. Furthermore, hundreds if not thousands of self proclaimed pro-lifers have received abortions or knows someone who has and still live under the guise of religion for political purposes in the same way that Dylan overlooked his father’s “sin” to carry out his own agenda. So yes, though this is just a horror film, the most frightening of From Within is not the doppelgangers that coerce the victims into killing themselves because that is fiction. But radical Christianity? That enemy is very real.