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Inner Demons (2014)
DVD Released: 8/4/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/26/2015
Welcome to another edition of "Good Idea...", the forum where we discuss movies which use a good idea as a jumping-off point. So many movies use lame or recycled ideas, so finding a film with a good idea is something to be admired. But, as we've observed in the past, as good idea doesn't guarantee a good movie. It's rare to find a movie which can take that good idea and ride it through to the end. Inner Demons not only has a good idea, but a great idea, one which should be definitely be recognized. As for the rest of the film...
Beth and Steve Morris (Colleen McGrann and Christopher Parker) contact an Intervention-like television show for help with their daughter, Carson (Lara Vosburgh). Carson went from a well-behaved child and a good student to a drug addict seemingly overnight. Producer Suzanne (Kate Whitney) arrives at the Morris house with camera men Jason (Morgan McClellan) and Tim (Brian Flaherty) in tow. They interview the family and get some footage of Carson, who certainly acts strange and doesn't really hide her heroin use. It's decided that Carson should be checked into a rehab clinic run by Dr. Pretiss (Richard Wilkinson). As the drugs begin to leave Carson's system, her behavior becomes more savage and her language more disturbing. During the process, Jason has found himself drawn to Carson and he feels protective of her. He begins to check into her background and discovers a dark secret.
When I'm not slaving away reviewing movies, I work in the behavioral health field, so I have a lot of experience with substance abuse patients. It's quite common for a patient's substance use to mask an underlying issue, such as depression or mania. So, the notion that drug use would not only hide demonic possession, but keep it under control is genius. I'm not sure where Screenwriter Glenn Gers got the idea (there are no extras on this DVD to provide any clues to the film's origins), but kudos to him. It's not unheard of for a person who is under the influence to be described as acting "possessed", so to make a literal leap with that idea is inspired. This also introduces the paradoxical notion that for most, heroin use would be considered a bad thing, but for Carson, it keeps those around her safe. (As someone who knows behavioral health, I also picked out many issues and goofs in the film, but I won't dwell on those.)
Inner Demons was shot in the "found footage" style, and the conceit is that we are watching raw footage shot for the show. This allows for a logical reason for cameras to be following Carson and for us to see footage from the treatment center's security cameras. (Although, there are some moments during Jason's investigation that his insistence on shooting doesn't make much sense.) The scares in the film mostly come from jumps as things suddenly appear on-camera or from loud noises. We also get the now cliched effect that when something supernatural is happening, the cameras will experience static and interference. (I'm sure that this is convenient for hiding cuts.)
Despite a great idea and a better than average reason for "found footage" to exist, Inner Demons can't maintain its momentum. Once we learn what is going on with Carson, we simply wait to see when she is truly going to go off, and it takes far too long for something to finally happen and when it does, it's fairly weak. In short, the movie needs more action. To be fair, the revelation of how Carson came to be in this condition is somewhat interesting and the ending contains a shock, but the second half of the story clearly needed more work. The movie is somewhat similar toThe Taking of Deborah Logan, but that film was one of the rare "found footage" which was able to maintain its momentum throughout. Inner Demons is worth checking out solely for its ingenious idea, but don't expect a consistent film.
Inner Demons has no concept of what detox really means on DVD courtesy of IFC Films. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. Keep in mind that we do get the typical "found footage" "issues", such as the aforementioned static and interference, as well as rolling screens and dark footage, but this is intentional and has nothing to do with the transfer. The colors look good and the daytime scenes have nice depth. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track does a fine job of highlighting sounds coming from off-screen, and we get solid subwoofer effects, both of which add to the aforementioned use of sounds to create jump scares.
The lone extra on the Inner Demons DVD is a TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long