Writer Adam Neutzsky-Wulff in his feature film directorial debut, has, despite a rather meager budget of $800k, assembled a quite suitable cast for his new film The Stranger Within. Estella Warren brings experience and beauty to the role of Emily Moore, an accomplished actress who, after experiencing being kidnapped and raped repeatedly, has a much needed lengthy stay at a psychiatric facility. After being released into the care of her psychologist husband Robert, (William Baldwin) she is still making the transition back into the public eye. Following a breakdown during her part in a stage play, Robert decides it’s best for the two of them to escape on vacation to a beautiful home in the Mediterranean Islands.

The Stranger Within
Written and Directed by
Adam Neutzsky-Wulff
Estella Warren, William Baldwin and Katia Winter
Digital and DVD Release Date
3 September 2013
Influx Grade: C-

Their relaxation, or more so Emily’s relaxation, is cut short when a frantic young woman Sarah (Sarah Butler, I Spit on Your Grave) arrives at their remote house covered in blood, and hysterical from the apparent death of her boyfriend in a hiking accident nearby. It’s at this point that Emily puts Sarah’s true motives into question, along with the actions of husband Robert, who insists that Sarah absolutely must stay so he can help her through her troubled emotional state. Did I mention that Emily has been seeing the dead ghost of her friend Sophie (Katia Winter)? A friend who committed suicide scrawling “Emily why” in blood beside the bath in the mirror; apparently, Emily stole Sophie’s boyfriend some years ago, but Robert seems rather unaffected by all of it, devoting his time and attention to Sarah. Was it an accident her ending up there and can Emily truly trust her husband Robert?

Now comes the bad news. There are times in the film where the plot loses cohesion, the editing is quite jagged for one, making the transition between certain scenes feel rushed. There are some unrealistic character behaviors and weak points in the script. All of which compound to become a serious issue around mid-film, disconnecting the viewer from the seriousness of the plot. Although the acting was indeed acceptable throughout, and the cinematography (by Michael Sauer Christensen) and score, were also without fault, it was, overall, a very average thriller along the lines of an LMN Tv flick, with the bonus of some welcomed nudity by Ms. Butler.

by Jim Davis