Directed by Glenn Ciano
First-time director Glenn Ciano was given quite a task. First he worked with screenwriter Carl V. Dupre (Hellraiser: Hellseeker, Detroit Rock City) to create the script for his film Inkubus. Then he was given horror legend Robert Englund to star in the film (a legend of Englund's magnitude would be an intimidating presence for most directors; for a first-timer it had to be nerve-wracking).
If that weren't enough, add incredibly powerful actor William Forsythe to Englund in the cast, and you've got quite the pair. The stories these two guys could tell... but Ciano was not intimidated by the duo. He took Englund, free of makeup, warts and all, and shoved him front and center. Paired with Forsythe, they make up a very powerful hero and antagonist for audiences to enjoy.
From there the cast reads more like a weeknight sitcom than a horror film: Jonathan Silverman, best known as a comedy actor; Joey Fatone, singer and entertainer, but never known in horror circles; and Michelle Ray Smith- gorgeous, yes, but best known for her work on the soap opera "Guiding Light." Somehow Ciano takes this cast of extremely different talents and utilizes them in ways that really work.
Filmed completely in Rhode Island with a local crew, Inkubus is set almost entirely in a police station on its last night before being decommissioned. The majority of the force has been moved to a new station, but the remaining officers are in for a night like none they've ever experienced when the demon Inkubus (Englund) strolls into the station, holding the severed head of a murdered girl. From there a psychological war begins between the demon and the police force, culminating with the battle between Inkubus and the one man who almost brought him down, Detective Gil Diamante (Forsythe).
As Englund and Forsythe dance in the film's primary battle, the supporting cast does quite a nice job in their roles. Silverman provides the comedic relief you would expect from him, highlighted in his own humorous scene with Inkubus, and Michelle Ray Smith is a very nice surprise. Aside from her beauty, the actress steps right up amongst this cast of heavyweights and performs nicely as Officer Erin Cole. As the primary focus for one of the film's main gore scenes, Smith does an admirable job in a less than perfect working environment.
But the true surprise for me is Joey Fatone. I had very little background info on Fatone's acting. Of course his musical exploits are well known, and he seems like a personable guy, whether it be on an episode of "Hannah Montana" or "Karaoke Battle USA", but I had no idea what he'd be like in a thriller/horror film. I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. Director Glenn Ciano promised to show the world a whole new Joey Fatone, and he does just that, even eliminating the trademark beard for some scenes. He's an interesting casting choice that really pays off. Fatone is locked into the struggle with the demon as his own inner struggle rages on as well. Not the easiest role to play, but Fatone pulls it off.
Now, with all this talk of psychological tug-of-wars going on, don't for one moment think that Ciano forgot to bring the gore. Inkubus is not without its fair share of the red, red kroovy with some real impressive work by FX artist Rob Fitz. Mr. Fitz made some miracles on a very short schedule. One scene in particular, involving a puppet that could have gone really wrong and hurt the film badly, is handled masterfully by Fitz as he turns a potentially brutal negative into one of the most memorable images from the film. Well done!
Is Inkubus a perfect horror film? No, but it is certainly entertaining. The combination of Englund and Forsythe with the excellently utilized supporting cast make for a complete ensemble. Although the story is a bit muddy in parts, it comes together well by the film's completion and has created a great anti-hero with the demon Inkubus. Almost certainly better than most mainstream horror released recently, Inkubus creates a nice foundation for a potential franchise if the filmmakers continue to work this diligently.
3 1/2 out of 5