Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Film Review: Inner Demons (2014)

Inner Demons (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...offers an interesting concept, a refreshing setting, and a good cast."

A teenage drug addict's problem may be hiding a more sinister inner demon...

Inner Demons follows a film crew as they document teenage drug addict Carson Morris (Lara Vosburgh) under the guise of an educational program. In reality, the crew are filming a reality rehab show and have planned an intervention. Carson agrees to the terms and enters rehabs, but warns that she may be possessed — an idea that's scoffed at by everyone except Jason (Morgan McClellan), a sympathetic cameraman. Jason, the hero in shining armor, goes to great lengths to help Carson. The film leads to what you'd expect from a possession film — an exorcism. The exorcism is mediocre and, like many horror films, it reverts to a slasher. A part of the ending was at least surprising, though.

Conceptually, Inner Demons is an interesting film. Blending a rehab reality show and possession creates something refreshing for the found-footage genre. It crafts an engaging situation, an interesting-albeit-cliché cast of characters, and an immersive setting. I generally knew where the film was headed, but I was still engaged. Even more surprising, I was actually entertained for most of the film. Also, the idea of this being a reality show gives the found-footage aspect more purpose — instead of the "we have to film everything for the sake of filming everything" excuse. These minor changes are welcome.

However, the core of the film is still generic and generally dull. Although the concept and setting are interesting, the film still relies on bland and tiring horror. Sure, the camera angles and perspectives have changed, but you're still facing the same jump-scares, malfunctioning cameras, and shaky cameramen. Instead of an entirely new identity — a new personality — the genre has simply changed clothes for this outing. As a horror film, it doesn't really leave an impression. I'll admit, there was one jump-scare that genuinely startled me, but not much more — especially if you've watched the trailer. 

The acting is fairly good, though. Morgan McClellan delivers a fine performance as the leading lady. She doesn't nail the junkie persona, but she often conveys great emotion through her facial expression — I enjoyed it. Morgan McClellan is also good. Aside from the acting, the film is a standard found-footage film — malfunctioning and shaky cameras. Fortunately, it doesn't get notably shaky until the final act. Writer Glenn Gers and director Seth Grossman have an interesting concept and a strong cast, but they're severely hindered by their reliance on common horror clichés and weak horror elements. I like the direction, but it could have been more effective.

Overall, Inner Demons is a decent film. It suffers from some severe flaws, but it's also entertaining — I don't believe I've emphasized that enough. Yes, it's not very frightening, which makes it a lesser horror film. On the other hand, it offers an interesting concept, a refreshing setting, and a good cast. It may not be The Exorcist, but it's a decent outing for the found-footage genre. I recommend a rental or stream for open-minded fans of the genre.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, some drug use.

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