Inherited, The (2009)
Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Starring Tyler Cross, Natalie Sieber, Jeff Pearson, Lauren Norfleet, Khory Pilley, and Lisa Reeves
Directed by Patrick C. Clinton
Produced by Roaming Armadillo Productions
We here at Dread Central are all about the independent horror filmmaker. When Hollywood provides fans with mostly remakes, we go out of our way to seek out the new and original in an effort to provide fellow horror fiends with the newest, hungry filmmakers who are the future of horror. Sure, their budgets may be low, and yes, they may not have "name" actors, but they still manage to produce some interesting and well-done flicks. That's why we go to festivals like the Horrific Film Fest and the Eerie Film Festival. Sometimes, it's hours of watching films that look like a high school class project. Other times, like in the case of The Inherited, the filmmakers manage to come up with something fresh and exciting, and they manage to discover some real talent along the way.
The Inherited is about a young man who discovers that he's just inherited not only an insane amount of cash, but a house and even a whole town from a grandmother he didn't even know he had. Together with four friends, he takes a trip to the old homestead. What happens next is a twisted story of murder, mayhem, and a few sundry other plot twists that I can't write about here without this becoming a spoiler-fest. Suffice to say, it's imaginative and well done.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this film is a combination of production value and camera work. Shot almost entirely in one house, the film manages to make the run-down place look like a mansion. The house appears to contain so many twists and turns that it might have been designed as a maze with a cover on it. The camera work is so well done that many of the recent "blockbusters" could sit and take a few notes. Unlike many low-budget productions, this one doesn't have the jerky camera where someone forgot the tripod, and even makes use of some impressive sweeping techniques that hearken back to movies like The Entity. Also, and it's a pet peeve so I took notice, there are no shots where the audience can see the camera in a reflection. I know it's a small point, but it impressed me.
Another impressive point was the script, which doesn't rely on wooden conversation or gratuitous nudie-scenes to get the audience. It actually manages to build tension by progressing along a weird plot line. Sure, there are a few nude scenes, but they don't seem to be there just for the sake of showing a boob. They're there to move the plot along.
One thing that independent film is notorious for is either bad acting or discovering real talent. It usually goes one way or the other. The Inherited does have a few of the unseasoned performances in it, but they're no worse than anything Nicolas Cage or Keanu Reeves has turned in. One actress, Natalie Sieber, appears to be the seasoned vet of the crew, turning in a performance that seems both natural and well played. If you haven't heard of her yet, I don't think it'll be long before someone higher up notices. And director Patrick C. Clinton does a great job of making his actors seem "normal" as opposed to like they're "acting."
The film does suffer a bit from the lack of a big budget but makes up for it with heart and creativity. This was one of the best films to come out of the San Antonio Horrific Film Fest.
3 1/2 out of 5
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