Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Prod. Co.: Schorr Pictures
Distributor: IFC Films
October 3rd, 2014
Inner Demons is yet another found footage style film. To justify this, the plot centers around a television crew filming an Intervention style program around a young girl named Carson (Lara Vosburgh, Hatsuya). What once was a straight-a student in a prestigious Christian school has become a drug addict. She agrees to be filmed and become part of an educational video, but is unaware it was an intervention set up by her family. After much fighting and assaulting a friend, she gives in, though believes it won’t help with her real problem: Demonic possession.
Eventually, Carson is sent off to rehab, and as she detoxes from the drugs, another personality begins to show up. However, through the course of the film, she begins to build a relationship with the crew’s Craigslist hired personal assistant, Jason (Morgan McClellan, The Secret Lives of Dorks), who goes out of his way to prove something is wrong beyond a simple drug addiction. The violent outbursts become worse as time goes on, assaulting one of the nurses of the clinic, convulsing after ingesting holy water, not to mention a poorly executed jump scare as she stands in the dark bathroom one night and a tortured face screams in the mirror as she walks out of frame.
The bond between the two continues to grow, though the demon inside attacks him as well, leaving behind a wound that looks horribly done with make-up effects. This leads to Carson being thrown out of the facility, and Jason getting fired. However, he is committed to helping her, learning that she did, in fact, channel the demon Molloch due to McKee (Ashley Sutton, Swelter) and other fellow classmates pulling a prank that goes terribly awry. But what follows is the long overdue exorcism as madness is unleashed in her once happy home.
The problem with this set up is that it just seems to take too long. Yes, the story is good and plays up more of a psychological angle, but the writing loses any real meaning upon her entering rehab. From here, it just feels as though writer Glenn Gers (Mad Money, Disfigured) just takes as many liberties as possible to push the story forward. Jason is seen on camera entering Carson’s room on various nights, not to mention shows why they get kicked out, as well as the demonic break out that lead to the wound on the fingers, yet no one seems to care, let alone check anyone that enters the facility for drugs or weapons at the very least.
Another issue is that the family claims to be Christian. Jason is the only character that pushes for an exorcism, but yet his pleads to possibly help her by just putting her mind at ease through the performance of such a religious action is ignored not just by the doctor and crew of the show, but her own family. You would imagine that, given how bad Carson gets towards the end, they would just try it anyway and hope like hell it might do their daughter the slightest bit of good. Instead, it is handled by the parents reverting to their old ways, an admission from Beth (Colleen McGrann) that you knew was coming from the very opening interviews, and Jason pushing his way into the home and doing it himself. This only incites further chaos due to the lack of drugs in her system, which is another plot hole in and of itself. He saw what the drugs can do when introduced into her system, so why would he not give her something to mellow her out given how far she has fallen from the high that kept these apparently voices in check?
On top of that, there’s little tension throughout the film. Every thing that is meant to get the viewer on edge, or even jump slightly, is basically announced ahead of time. One of the tropes is the camera cutting out or having digital distortion appear on screen, which also alters Carson’s voice when the demon is taking control or lashing out. On top of knowing violence is about to happen, the demon announces itself by Carson breathing heavy as it starts to take control. There’s also only a few scenes that genuinely try to be scary, but end up being cheap jump scares instead, such as the aforementioned screaming face in the mirror, the attack on Jason, and kids who randomly hit his car with a ball while on the phone with Beth, Carson’s mother. The only time that might get the viewer, not to mention the only legitimately earned one, is when Jason is crept up on at one point in the film, due to the approach being blocked by something in the foreground.
But the worst comes at the very end. It’s clear most of the film’s budget is invested in the exorcism scene, which looks great and finally allows the demon Molloch a chance to be free and start building up a body count. But the main event at the end is not that Carson is healed by the exorcism, but rather by the power of like. No, it’s not even love, but rather a mild attraction to each other, and Jason’s own gentlemanly drive to try to help her overcome the demon. The rest, however, will leave you in awe, as well as groan in total disapproval due to predictability and lack of gore to make what plays out at all convincing.
Inner Demons tries to be a psychological ghost story akin to recent films like Sinister or The Taking of Deborah Logan, but it ends up failing pretty hard as far as the story itself goes. For an eighty-five minute offering, you can’t help but feel they tried to shoe horn in a lot of filler to pad out an otherwise simple story, and, as mentioned, glance over basic concepts like simple security measures or even a family willing to do anything to help a loved one. It’s a basic tale that we’ve seen plenty of times already, and easily could have best been kept to a short film length. Or, if anything, put a little more focus on the demonic side, especially towards the end without resorting to announcing to the world that Molloch is breaking through, thus leaving the viewer to wonder if it’s really the demon, or perhaps just a mental illness. Inner Demons is a slow burn with a great surprise ending beyond the old children’s cartoon programming idea of “love” (a term used losely in this review) conquering all. But, in the end, the mediocre venture is a long way to go for a glorious few seconds of film.
|Overall Score: 4/10