HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, June 1, 2017

INHERITANCE -- Movie Review by Porfle

I love it when I sit down to watch a movie I know nothing about, and it grabs me from the very start.  INHERITANCE (2017) is one of those movies--it takes a firm grasp on the viewer and, without once having to get loud, flashy, or hyperactive, doesn't let go until the fadeout.

The story has an unassuming premise at first, with manual laborer Ryan (Chase Joliet, KRISHA, LUMBERJACK MAN) inheriting a lavish ocean-front estate from his biological father, whom he never knew, and temporarily moving in along with expectant wife-to-be Isi (TV actress Sara Montez making her feature debut) with plans to sell it later. 

What neither is aware of, however, is the dark history of both the house and Ryan's mysterious blood relatives, and the increasingly malevolent influence these will begin to have upon him the longer he stays beneath its roof.

While the word "horror" covers much of what follows, "psychological thriller" is an equally apt term as we slowly make the descent along with Ryan into the murky depths of his own mind. 

We know, from those first stately, formal camera shots in which we glimpse the young couple moving about in the periphery, that something is just plain wrong about the house.

The place seems to exude a knowing aura of bad dreams and memories that will haunt Ryan and take hold of his thoughts and behavior, driving a wedge between himself and Isi that will make them strangers to one another as its oppressive influence inexorably closes in.

Before long he begins to see glimpses of phantom faces in reflections, while visions of murder and other evil deeds from the past seep into his mind. We even begin to fear for his unborn child, a descendant of the mysterious bloodline whose ill effects Ryan himself is only now starting to feel.

Not actually scary, per se, INHERITANCE is deeply unsettling and very eerie, taking its time to build a strong mood that will have us hanging on its every development without the usual tricks or gimmicks so many contemporary horror flicks need to hold our attention and "scare" us. 

The film is a pleasure to look at as well.  I love first-time writer/director Tyler Savage's very deliberate and dreamlike visual style, especially in several telling montages which are enhanced by an atmospheric musical score. 

Camerawork and editing are first-rate as well.  This is one of those movies you can appreciate solely on pictorial terms, through which much of the story is grippingly conveyed with minimal to no dialogue.

Even so, there's an incredible dinner scene with Ryan and Isi hosting his boorish, tipsy stepsister Allie and her husband in which devastating dialogue, along with some bravura acting (Ashley Spillers as Allie deserves some kind of an award for this brief but memorable performance) takes center stage.

Savage handles it superbly in a single take as the camera creeps in and out among the participants and the dialogue slowly goes from harmless chatter to  raw, emotionally-wounding recriminations.  It's exquisitely executed, like watching a trainwreck filmed in elegant slow-motion.

Other scenes are equally effective, as when Ryan discovers a local who claims to be his "cousin" (Drew Powell) furtively digging for something in the backyard (he'll later steal several family items from the storage shed), or when Ryan visits an elderly neighbor named Bonnie (Krisha Fairchild) whose careworn face hides chilling secrets. 

The story doesn't need a slam-bang, effects-laden finish, so it merely ends with a disturbing deed that results from a tragic case of mistaken identity.  With Ryan (and us) seriously doubting his own sanity, the deftly-handled revelations at the end of INHERITANCE only leave us with more doubts, and more deep-seated apprehension.

World Premiere at Dances With Films June 2nd


Dances With Films:
Friday, June 2, 2017
TCL Chinese 6
9:30 pm
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028


No comments: