Hulu’s Into the Dark recap: Down


Hulu’s Into the Dark delivers another underwhelming and predictable story of horror when two people who work in the same office building get trapped in an elevator over Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend.

Our story opens with two people in different parts of the office building getting ready to leave for their weekend.

On an upper floor, Jennifer (Natalie Martinez) struggles with whether or not to send an email to her ex-fiance to let him know she’s flying to New York to surprise him for Valentine’s Day. In the end, she doesn’t send the email. She gathers her belongings and gets into the elevator.

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Meanwhile, Guy (Matt Lauria) fumbles around in the restroom preening himself. He waits for the elevator and nearly misses it because he’s messing around with his phone, but Jennifer holds the door for him. Guy tries to make awkward conversation, and while Jennifer is polite she is also standoffish.

As Guy points out a piece of graffiti scratched into the metal paneling — a stick figure man banging against the walls — the elevator comes to an unexpected stop. They are trapped, the last two people in a building closed for a long weekend, with no alarm or access to cell signal or emergency phones.

They work together to problem solve a solution, checking cell phone signal, trying to reach the ceiling panels, yelling through the doors for help, but nothing works. Also, is it normal to have a security camera in the elevator shaft? I mean, maybe to make sure nothing is broken? I suppose it is a space where people could be doing things, sabotaging machinery or something? I don’t know, I thought it was weird.

Anyway, they exchange some casual, meaningless banter but eventually get around to introducing themselves. After all, worst case scenario they’re stuck together 80 hours until the building reopens on Tuesday morning.

Eventually, Jennifer has to pee and it’s a really embarrassing situation, but Guy is a total gentleman about it and makes it as easy as possible for her. She goes in her empty thermos while Guy has his back turned with his eyes closed and his hands over his ears as he makes random noises to drown out the sound. He’s so sweet and respectful that it’s honestly a little suspicious.

After a few hours together they start to get to know each other a little and exchange romantic sob stories. Guy opens a bottle of wine he was bringing for a client and they share a drink.

They start to be more honest with each other and Guy admits that he’s noticed her specifically and thought she was pretty and someone who he’d like to know but he didn’t want her thinking he was a creepy stalker — which is exactly what a creepy stalker would say to give his victims a false sense of security.

Their conversation degenerates into raunchy sex stories which lead to them having sex. Guy gets to be a little too emotionally involved whereas Jennifer feels like it was just a fun casual way to pass the time. She’s honest and upfront with him about it, but this makes Guy unreasonably upset.

Surprise! Guy is actually a creepy stalker who orchestrated the whole situation so that he could force her to get to know him. His name isn’t Guy and he’s one of the security guards that she walks by every single day and she didn’t even recognize him. He has creepy videos of her on his phone from security cameras.

He has the key to start the elevator and despite his creepiness decides to just let her go — until Jennifer takes a strange tactic that I feel like no woman in a confined space with a confirmed stalker who holds the power of her freedom over her would take and she threatens to call the police on him as soon as she gets out.

Of course, she isn’t out yet and he still has the key, and he can’t allow her to call the police. There is a struggle and the keys get broken, actually trapping them both until Tuesday morning. In the meantime, Guy has to decide what to do with her because he’d rather kill her than go back to prison. That’s right, back to prison.

Guy decides to open the gifts Jennifer was bringing to her ex, a nice shirt that Guy takes for himself and a fancy cigar set that includes a blowtorch lighter and cigar cutter. Guy is really showing his crazy now, but he still thinks that maybe he can salvage his relationship with Jenn.

He apologizes for scaring her, saying that when he gets mad he sometimes just loses it. He figures out how to open the panel in the ceiling and Jennifer convinces him to trust her, saying that when they get out they can go together to the resort being advertised on the elevator TV.

He boosts her up into the ceiling, but instead of just getting out and calling the cops, she has to give him the finger to let him know she intends to betray him, which sends him after her.

The elevator door is weirdly on the opposite side of the shaft from the ladder leading up to it, so Jennifer has to climb around the shaft to reach it. Guy gets to her before she can escape and they both go falling back down the shaft back into the elevator. Why does Jennifer keep blowing her chance at escape by revealing her intentions to this crazy guy? She was smart to play on his relationship hopes, but why risk him coming after her by flipping him off? So dumb.

After their fall they’re both unconscious, but when Jennifer wakes up she tries to trigger the fire alarm by making a small fire. When Guy wakes up he’s injured and she’s able to overpower him and tie him up. The sprinkler system is triggered, but it doesn’t call the fire department. Why? I don’t know.

While Jennifer has Guy tied up she takes the opportunity to threaten to castrate him with the convenient cigar tools. She doesn’t do it in the end, but Guy is sufficiently scared. Jennifer decides to record his confession so that once the cops do come it isn’t his word against hers. He admits to everything, including that his real name is John Deakins.

He didn’t use to be a security guard. He used to be a big shot at another company, but he flipped his car while driving drunk. He got a bump on the head, but the woman in the car with him died terribly. He went to prison for six months, but no one would hire an ex-con once he got out.

He just wanted to feel like his old self again, not the invisible security guard. It seems to me that he might have been fairly normal before the accident, so maybe it was the bump on the head that messed him up?

Eddie, one of the other security guards, comes by with his date to show her the roof of the building and finds them in the elevator. He goes to figure out how to get them out, but John unties himself in the meantime and knocks Jennifer out. Eddie throws John his override key, then John lures Eddie halfway into the elevator before turning it on and letting it chop him in half.

John takes the unconscious Jennifer to the garage and puts her in his trunk, throws Eddie down the elevator shaft along with Jennifer’s destroyed phone, then kills Eddie’s girlfriend and throws her down the elevator shaft too. He gets cleaned up, deletes all the security videos, and drives away with Jennifer in the trunk.

He drives to a dumpster in a remote location and douses it with gasoline. When he opens the trunk, Jennifer appears to be dead, but the moment he has his back turned she hits him over the head and drives away in the car. Then she stops and decides instead to back up into him.

As John dives into the dumpster to avoid being crushed, he impales himself on a sharp metal rod. He’s pinned. She lights a cigar, takes a few puffs, and then throws it into the dumpster to burn him alive.

This, of course, is how survivors of assault end up going to prison. With the amount of overkill involved, she can hardly claim self-defense. But then again, without the video confession to prove her case, her story will be questioned and cross-examined, and police will wonder what she had done to attract and encourage John’s behavior.

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What was it that she did to make him act that way towards her? The answer, of course, is nothing. She didn’t deserve it and she didn’t ask for it, but that’s just not how it works with survivors of assault.

Realistically, Jennifer will probably go to prison for what she did to John in the end. There are bodies in the elevator shaft, and the elevator they were trapped in is a mess of her blood and fingerprints, so there’s no way she won’t be connected to the bodies.

Hulu’s Into the Dark streams on Hulu with a new episode each month. Let us know your thoughts on Dark in the comments below.