30th Aug2015

Frightfest 2015: ‘Inner Demon’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sarah Jeavons, Kerry Ann Reid, Andreas Sobik | Written and Directed by Ursula Dabrowsky

inner-deamon

Inner Demon is nothing if not unpredictable… in the most predictable way possible. You see the story revolves around teenager Sam (Jeavons), who is abducted one night along with her younger sister by a feral serial-killing couple. Escaping from the boot of their car and injured making her getaway, she finds refuge in an isolated farmhouse, only to discover it is home to the very people she was abducted by! So far, so familiar right? Right. But let me continue…

Hiding out in one of the largest closets in the Australian outback, Sam witnesses her abductors going about there odd ways, fighting between each other, killing their best mate. You know, the usual stuff. Realising that she’s not the first to get abducted – thanks to the ridiculous amount of trophies the couple keep in that very same closet – Sam must try to escape and rescue her sister, keeping the promise she made in the Babadook-esque “there’s nothing under the bed” opening (which frankly has nothing to do with the rest of the film). Only she doesn’t.

[SPOILERS]

She dies. Of the wound sustained whilst making her escape. Then the film does a complete u-turn, introducing a supernatural element as the spirits of her abductors previous victims turn up to reek havoc. Yes. You read that right.

Inner Demon literally features demons. Of the external variety.

Completely falling apart in those final minutes, Inner Demon‘s story switches from traditional kidnap horror/thriller to supernatural tale. Which, given the right treatment COULD have been an interesting take on a well-worn story. But Inner Demon does not so much as even try to weave the two genres together.

Would it have been difficult to accept that Sam’s unconscious, on the brink of death, somehow astrally projected out of the closet in hopes of saving her sister. Nope. I would have even accepted that somehow her predicament meant that Sam had created some kind of Id monster. But ghosts? Just turning up like that? It’s so much of an out-of-left-field plot change that it does nothing but take the audience completely out of the movie, ruining any goodwill that the film built up beforehand.

Because it did have a lot to offer, even if the films story was nothing more than a cliche. For a start Sarah Jeavons, in her first starring role, gives a note perfect performance. She balances the fragility of a kidnap victim with the strength, and ferosity at times, of someone who does not want to die, who wants revenge, who wants to save her sister. Then there are the villains – a husband and wife pair who, in the very best tradition of the likes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, have a relationship as fragile as their mental state. The fact that husband has so much control over not only his victims but his wife as well, makes for a very interesting character… until that concept too is thrown away in favour of a ghost fight.

If Inner Demon was to succeed it would need some serious cleansing of its demons. But I fear its too late.

* 1/5

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