Inheritance bills itself as a horror film, but this is not the same type of horror that most people come to expect. Kris Kristensen (Flicking Memories, White Face) directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Brian McDonald (White Face), and the story is curiously bereft of anything scary. Instead, it feels more like a mystery. Everything that happens is curious, but not scary. While the viewer will want to figure out what exactly happened, he/she will not feel the same emotions as Abbey Nielsen (Jen Taylor). This is a psychological thriller with little thrills. Kristensen places so much emphasis on pacing that he sucks the life right out of the movie.
Nielsen takes are of Lillian Baker (Marjorie Nelson, Joyful Partaking, Under Heaven), and elderly woman ignored by her own daughter. Nielsen feels sorry for Baker, who seems like a kindly old woman. She does not realize that Baker plays on Nielsen's own guilt to keep her there after hours. Nielsen's boyfriend Neil (Carter Roy, What About Me, Treatshack) dislikes Baker, and the feeling is mutual. Baker often purposefully tricks Nielsen into spending time with her when she knows that Neil has plans. Nielson notices that Baker is acting stranger. She is talking to dead relatives that are not there, and even has Nielsen make place settings at dinner. It's not a big surprise when she dies, but it is when she leaves nearly everything, including her house, to Nielsen.
At this point, Inheritance is about one-third over. Kristensen and McDonald are in a catch-22 situation. They required a lot of backstory in order for the plot to move forward, but if they spend too much time, people will lose interest. They opt for more, and this is what causes Inheritance to move so slowly. Once Nielsen spends some time in the house, she notices strange things happening. She appears in the house, not remembering going there. She begins acting differently, especially towards Neil. Worse, she starts wearing Baker's old clothes. She believes that Baker is somehow haunting her, while everybody else thinks she is sick. Here, Kristensen and McDonald throw out that her family has a history of schizophrenia, as to cast doubt on Nielsen's allegations.
It's not a secret to say that something is happening. The schizophrenia red herring does not work at all. Again, watching Inheritance boils down to waiting to see how things play out. The story takes its time, again because it has to, while paradoxically slowing everything down. And again, nothing ever approaches the level of scary. This is Taylor's first on-screen role (she has an extensive voice-over resume) and she handles herself well, it is the script that has structural issues. There is one scene near the end where she confronts what is behind everything. Instead of a sense of conflict, the scene as filmed induces laughter. In the end, the film makes perfect logical sense. It holds the attention of the viewer and looks fine for what one assumes is a low budget. But all the feelings necessary for Inheritance to work, dread, fear, foreboding, are missing, and as a result, the movie cannot fulfill what it sets out to do.
|Gerf Rates It: Not That Good.|
|1 hour, 29 minutes, Rated R for language, sexual content, some drug use, and a disturbing image.|
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