WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.
It wasn’t too long ago I reviewed a film called Ouija: Origin of Evil. After a solid review, I have to say, I’m warming up to the business model of Blumhouse Productions. Blumhouse has excelled at making dirt cheap movies where CGI is practically nonexistent and filmmakers aren’t afraid to take chances given the low risk of the budget. It really goes to show you the difference between big Hollywood and small Hollywood where films with quarter Billion dollar budgets are taking fewer risks than films with actors working for peanuts. The qualities of these films are all over the place ranging from academy award-winning Whiplash to cinematic abortion Jem and the Holograms. Blumhouse has become the mystery jellybean flavor in the movie world because you don’t know what you are going to get. Here we have another horror film called Incarnate which is the 10th horror movie from the production company this year. Unfortunately, only two of them have been well received by critics and that’s including the film I did just over a month ago.
Incarnate begins with a mother and her son. After a night of getting groceries, our family decides to get some rest until the boy named Cameron (David Mazouz) is attacked by a homeless demon named ‘Maggie’. We later jump to our protagonist named Dr. Ember (Aaron Eckhart) who is in the dream of a man possessed by a demon. Dr. Ember saves the man’s body from the demon by waking him up from his dream and killing it. When he awakens we discover that Ember is actually a quadriplegic with a massive drinking problem. He is an ‘incarnate’ with the ability to enter people’s subconscious and ‘evict’ demons from their bodies. So when the opportunity arises, he gets his chance at revenge against the demon that took his family away from him.
The premise of Incarnate is actually a pretty creative one. The film puts a lot of work in creating his own science when comes to Ember’s demonic evictions. When he is in the dream world, time never changes giving away the world they are in is not real. The possessed person has the ability to manifest their own exit from the dream to wake up. The film basically Inception meets Constantine in terms of the central story. However, the creativeness of the film runs dry after that point as they try to create a competent film based solely an idea and not much else. There isn’t much else to this film because for one, it’s short and two, it’s trying to stretch an interesting idea into an 85-minute film and barely has enough material to pull it off.
The film isn’t very scary. There is one startling moment at the beginning of the movie and it’s a random loud noise to catch you off guard. Clichés are pasted throughout from an abusive father to a supernatural redemption story. The runtime doesn’t allow you enough time to connect emotionally to the characters. Eckhart’s character is the only one who gets screen time to feel anything for him. Everyone else isn’t given character development outside of a job title or a one-sentence description of who they are. The ending comes when Dr. Ember finally gets his 1 v 1 showdown with Maggie. Ember makes the ultimate sacrifice to kill Maggie once and all and end the archdemon nightmare…except he doesn’t. The demon lives and jumps to the next person. The End. While I don’t mind false endings, a film like this makes it feel like a waste of time. The monster lives after all the events leading to an ending that goes out like an engine backfire.
Incarnate is an interesting premise that would have better performed as a Netflix series instead of a feature-length film. In what should have been a Supernatural horror film feels more like Comic Book origin movie with no way to turn a good idea into a good movie. While it is more entertaining than many other films in the Blumhouse library, at the end of the day, Incarnate doesn’t have the story to pull off its own ideas.
OFFICIAL RATING: *
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