Despite the fact I don’t talk about them much, I am usually curious about ghost films. I guess I’m always interested to see if a writer or director can make them scary again. Too many times have we, as movie-goers, seen the same things rehashed over and over onscreen. So instead of trying to remake POLTERGEIST or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (which technically dealt with a demon, and not a ghost), filmmakers need to focus more on atmospheric horror and less on jump-scares.
So when The Rasmussen brothers reached out to me to review their upcoming release, THE INHABITANTS, I happily agreed to give it a look. I own one of their previous films, a collaboration with the legendary John Carpenter titled THE WARD, however I have not watched it (yet). I figured I had to check this one out, since the Rasmussens were worthy enough to work with one of my favorite film directors of all time. THE INHABITANTS is not perfect, but it’s an entertaining film…and once it gets going, you’ll be thankful you gave it a chance.
If you are not familiar with THE INHABITANTS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Gravitas Ventures:
Written and directed by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, screenwriters of JOHN CARPENTER’S THE WARD, and produced by international bestselling author Glenn Cooper, THE INHABITANTS revolves around a young couple that gets more than they bargained for when they renovate a neglected bed and breakfast in New England. After a series of disturbing events, the husband begins to suspect that something evil is lurking within the walls of this old house, and whatever it is has set its sights on his wife. Now he must fight to uncover the inn’s dark secret before this malicious spirit consumes everything he loves.
I’m grateful the Rasmussen brothers gave me a shot at this film. I am always honored when filmmakers and authors reach out to me, as opposed to me tracking them down. This is one of the biggest reasons I love my job.
THE INHABITANTS is shot well and looks good onscreen, however the cinematography does not bring anything new to the table. The lighting is integrated well, however, and the resulting atmosphere it helps create instills a separate chilling level of tension to the film. This aspect is a huge win for me, and it’s one of the primary reasons I enjoyed the film so much.
The acting is pretty good, with Elise Couture and Michael Reed portraying the lead (and, I suppose, titular) characters. I am not familiar with either, however both show promise. A few more titles under their belts might warrant a lengthy career in Hollywood.
The special effects in THE INHABITANTS are minimal, however what we do see looks good. I feel there is plenty of room for more of them in the film, but I also understand that budget and time constraints play a big part of why they might not be there.
The story is where I feel THE INHABITANTS is lacking a bit. Granted, the Salem Witch Trials makes a fascinating backdrop for any horror film, but the way the subject is integrated here is too minimalistic. The birthing chair and how it plays into the ending is a nice touch, and there are several frightening scenes throughout the film…however I don’t feel like it meshes all together enough at the end to create a solid resolution.
Still, this is a good film. It starts off a bit slow, but once it gains steam, tension fills the air and stays put until the credits roll. I recommend giving this a look. Don’t expect a ton of originality, but this is an enjoyable ride nonetheless.
THE INHABITANTS will be released from Gravitas Ventures on October 13th to multiple VOD platforms including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Google Play, Xbox LIVE, Sony Playstation, various cable providers, and more. The film is also currently available for pre-order on iTunes.