“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.” – The Rasmussen Brothers
I took the time to watch this last night and I’m glad I did. Several things stood out to me as a I watched The Inhabitants. The beginning of the film had a Hammer Horror kind of feel to it. I also loved the setting, the gloomy, wet New England weather. Why oh, why do I live in a desert. I am so moving there whenever I actually make money again. But, I digress. The acting also stood out. Elise Couture as Jessica was hypnotic to watch. The story ran smooth and it took a couple of turns out of the norm that I found refreshing.
As mentioned, the scenery was perfect. The location’s in The Inhabitants, really set the tone. Wet, overcast weather made it real easy to image the history of the area and it helped to set a wonderfully moody feel to the film. As someone that has spent most of his on the west coast, an old house is something from the 1960’s. Maybe a house or two from the 20’s but in New England, there’s real history in houses out there. Hundreds of years of history that made it easy to imagine the life and death that these old homes have seen over the centuries.
The acting by everyone was believable. Though I will admit I spent a little time during the movie to Google the cast and more importantly, Elise Couture who plays the wife, Jessica. I did so because a lot of lower budget films have actors I don’t recognize and I like to see what else they’ve done that I might be interested in. Here she has a real natural feel to her character. She never seemed stiff. Never seemed like she was “acting” and it stood out enough to make me Google her right away.
A couple of other things that stood out. The directing. In a lot of the movies I see, time and money are a appear to be a huge concern and the direction always suffers. There’s often a lot of wide shots of characters talking and few single shots, for example. A multitude of these shots tend to make give the film a cheap cut and paste feel. However, The Inhabitants doesn’t suffer from this at all. There was obviously a lot of thought put into it. Close ups, single shots, scenery and camera angles that really helped to set the mood.
I also enjoyed the story. The Inhabitants offered a couple things I didn’t see coming and that’s always a good thing. Too many times everything is predictable. Sometimes predictable is good, most of the time, it’s not. Here we have good solid story telling that makes for an enjoyable ghost story wrapped up in a mystery.
And for all the good there was some things that stood out that I wasn’t thrilled about. Some for shallow and immature reasons, others for legitimate reasons. There was a few times, I think the film would have been better served with a little humor in a couple of spots. I think sometimes the situation calls for it and filmmakers don’t go with it because they feel like it doesn’t serve the story or might take the audience out of the mood. I’m sure that’s true sometimes but in this case, there were moments missed in the dialog that took me out of the moment.
Two of those moments kind of happened back to back. In one scene, Dan, the husband, played by Michael Reed wanted to have sex with his wife as they lay in bed on their first night in the new house. Jessica, doesn’t want to. She’s too tired. Asks for a rain check even. On an immature level this bothers me because she’s hot, I’m a guy, I totally want to live vicariously through Dan at that moment. From a a normal grown up viewpoint, I thought a simple love scene at that moment would have shown their commitment and love for each other. I never got the sense that these two really cared for each other. There just weren’t really any scenes in the beginning of the film that really made us care for them as a couple.
However, since they didn’t have sex, there was a perfect chance to make light of it in a scene the following morning. Dan is downstairs doing stuff, Jessica get’s about half-way down the stairs and asks Dan if he can help her with some stuff. He begrudgingly agrees to help her. What he should have said said was, “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. I’m just kinda tired right now. Rain Check?” She would moan in mock disgusts and he would then get up and goes on to help her. It would have been cute and endearing.
The Inhabitants needed a few more moments like that. The film is very story driven and taking these moments helps to endear the characters to the audience in my opinion. Instead, The Inhabitants focuses too much on moving the story forward that we miss out on some real good moments that would have helped us grow more attached to the young couple. It can’t be assumed that we’re going to care about a character or characters just because they are the leads in a film.
A good example of this can be taken from life. We hear about people that die every day, drug overdoses, accidents, suicide and so on. It’s sad but that’s about it when it comes to our emotional response. We move on from it without a second thought. Yet, if it’s an actor, a musician, some kind of public figure that we know even though we’ve never met them, we can be brought to tears by their passing. Why? Because they’ve done things in their lives that touched us in some way. When it comes to a movie, just spending 90 minutes with two characters isn’t always enough to make us really care about them. We need a reason to. There just wasn’t enough of that between these two characters. I should have cared more for them and I just didn’t.
At the end of the day though, no movie is perfect so don’t let the few negatives I’ve mentioned scare you away. All in all The Inhabitants is well worth watching. I don’t think it’s on Netflix but it is available right now as part of your Amazon Prime membership or you can rent it or buy it, if you’re not a member. Make it part of your next horror movie night…
THE INHABITANTS was shot inside one of the oldest haunted houses in New England, which at one time was home to the Salem Witch Trial children. The Noyes-Parris House (c. 1669) was owned by the infamous Rev. Samuel Parris who was the father of Betty Parris and uncle to Abigail Williams, the two girls who made the initial accusations that led to the tragic witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts.
Cast of Characters:
Elise Couture … Jessica
Michael Reed … Dan
India Pearl … Lydia
THE INHABITANTS on DVD and Blu-ray January 5, 2016
Available for pre-order now!
Watch it on Amazon Prime Now!