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Why particularly odd LCVG-ers might be interested in "Inheritance"


Adam Tyner
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I watched an independent horror flick called "Inheritance" the other day, starring Jen Taylor. I looked up her entry on the IMDb afterwards and found out that she's the voice of Cate Archer, Cortana, Princess Peach, and Princess Toadstool. This was her first film (or, er, shot-on-HD-video) role, and if you want to see the voice of Cortana naked, you might find it worth a rental.

 

I'm not sure why I'm mentioning this either. // goes back to lurking

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Sure, I'll post some pictures when I get home, if you want. How much am I allowed to show? :D

 

It's a pretty decent movie. I e-mailed this quasi-review to a friend who asked me about it the other day.

 

Basic premise: A twentysomething named Abbey has been hired to care for the elderly Lillian Baker. They both seem likeable enough, and even though this is just a temporary gig for Abbey, the two of them get fairly close. Lillian thinks Abbey's squandering her life, wanting her to ditch the goofy boyfriend and trade up to a doctor. Lillian continually talks about seeing dead relatives, even having a disconcerted Abbey make dinner at one point for empty placesettings. Anyway, Lillian eventually dies, and Abbey's hit surprisingly hard by the loss. As Abbey packs things away for Lillian's disinterested daughter, she's surprised to find that everything -- lock, stock, and barrel -- has been left to her. She decides to hand the house over to the daughter anyway and continues to spend the next few days packing away Lillian's belongings. The more time she's over there, Abbey continually finds herself losing track of large chunks of time, and she awakes from those gray hours to discover she's apparently adopted some of Lillian's habits. Her friends start to think she's suffering from schizophrenia, and the doctor they plead her to see chalks it up to just high anxiety after losing someone close to her. Things not surprisingly escalate, and...yeah, from a plot standpoint, I'm pretty sure you can see where things are going.

 

It doesn't start off all that great...the first half hour or so plays a lot like an extended episode of any random anthology series, and the score has such a synthesized quality to it that I could practically picture one of the director's friends hunched over a keyboard and laying down a bunch of MIDI tracks. Too much time is spent flirting with the idea that this is all in Abbey's mind, when it's pretty clear it's not (in much the way as the extended footage with Reagan undergoing a battery of tests in 'the version you've never seen' of "The Exorcist" is kind of a waste). I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that Abbey is being pitted against Lillian's ghost, and the early stages of their confrontation are handled kind of clumsily. It works the first couple of times, but when Abbey shows up at a restaurant with this incredibly unconvincing hairdo and an overall faux-goth sort of appearance, I'm sure I audibly groaned, and I know I did when Abbey started chatting up a young girl in a graveyard who really shouldn't be allowed in front of a camera.

 

Shortly after that, though, it gets progressively better. The confrontation between Lillian and Abbey is very atypical. You know how most movies are -- the heroine sees strange things, everyone else thinks she's nuts, her friends are slowly convinced, they all band together, there's some sort of special-effects-laden finale where things come violently to a head...but "Inheritance" doesn't follow that formula at all. By that point, the movie's gelled enough that the characters have earned the right to some 'dead time', pun halfway intended, where there isn't any conflict between the living and dead. You can tell by the counter on the DVD player that there's too much time left for it to really be over, but it still feels deserved, not like a "Friday the 13th"-ish "no, don't worry, I shot Jason with a flare gun and saw him fall into the lake. We're safe now!" plot contrivance. The acting's pretty decent, particularly as the movie settles in and the cast seems more comfortable in their roles.

 

Although it's not a particularly cinematic movie (it really does seem more like a television series to me), "Inheritance" is reasonably well-directed, and there are some nice camera tricks throughout. One example is kind of a reverse on the old Hitchcock "Vertigo" effect where Abbey and Lillie both remain stationary in the frame, but the background around them very slowly warps and expands.

 

Quick specs, if you're curious -- anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1-ish), Dolby Digital 5.1, making of featurette, commentaries... I didn't get a final copy of the movie, so I don't know exactly what all is included, but my screener came with separate audio CDs with two commentaries.

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