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You Have To Go Inside

Mike Painter is a child psychologist who seems to struggle more with memories of his own childhood than his clients do with theirs. And there's plenty to struggle with: when he was a child he lost his twin brother, along with four other of his neighbors, to the Iron Hill Murders, and his father had split long before. After a harrowing dream, Mike decides to visit his family, or what's left of it, in the countryside of Iron Hill, Ohio. After a talk with his estranged mother Marla, it soon becomes clear that Mike is really just interested in solving the unsolved murders, and avenging his brother's death.  

So he makes the first logical stop: the sheriff's department. Mike knows Gary from way back and he's now been elected sheriff, and Mike is hoping his old buddy can help him get access to those Iron Hill Murders files. Sheriff Gary will abide only if Mike comes to dinner that night, and casually psychoanalyze his kid for him. At dinner, Mike runs into Katie, one of Gary's kids, who's watching something strange on the television. A show called "Candle Cove," filled with nightmarish characters that used to haunt kids' dreams. But that show only lasted two months, and was discontinued…back in 1988. Exactly when the murders happened.

Mike gets the willies and has to go home (a little drunk) back to his mom's house. Marla is woken up by his entrance, as well as the television that inexplicably turns on and starts playing…Candle Cove! Mike has more nightmares, and even sleep walks. The next morning when Katie's mom Jessica goes to wake her up, she's not there. With Mike's help, Jessica organizes a small search party for her daughter, and together with the law they comb the woods. The same woods in which Mike and his twin would traipse about as kids. When confronted by the cops, Mike can't account for the hours after he left dinner and when he got home to Marla's house at 3a.m.— and Jessica is understandably suspicious. Mike thinks the show coming back on the air has something to do with Katie's disappearance. Okay. And on top of that, we learn that Mike actually checked himself into a psychiatric ward after attempting suicide. So, this is a pretty tough time for him.

Mike breaks away from the pack and asks Katie's brother Dane if he knows where Katie is. He tells Mike that Katie's at the Crow's Nest. This means something to Mike. When Mike plunges deeper into the woods, this time armed with a blade, he comes upon a man dressed like a caped skeleton (it's not even Halloween yet) with a bony mask on. Mike chases him through the forest until he comes upon the place where all those children were murdered, and he finds Katie. Alive.