DreadWorld Review : Infernal (2015)

Marriage can be tough. It can tougher when you are forced to enter into it, not by choice, but because your girlfriend is pregnant and demands that you "put a ring on it." It gets even tougher when said child is born and develops with a learning disability (in this case autism - maybe). But nothing can prepare a young couple for the devastating news that their child is possessed by some sort of evil demon. That's the situation young couple Nathan (Andy Ostroff) and Sophia (Heather Adair) find themselves in in Bryan Coyne's Infernal.

If there is one thing that always hits my sweet spot it's demon possession films, or rather films that deal with the forces of good versus evil, with possessed folks. Either way, there is enough in the description of Infernal to hit my horror sweet spot. It's just a shame that the film is so poorly executed and realized, because there are some small kernels of an intriguing idea laced throughout.

Infernal is a found footage film - one that really doesn't have to be. It starts with the basic idea what we, the audience are watching the same tape. It covers the couples forced engagement, their wedding and the birth of their child Imogene, then the tape jumps seven years. There is a throwaway line about Nathan taping over the wedding video at some point to justify the sequence of events we are watching. But then the film abandons that single tape strategy all together when Nathan sets up cameras all over the house Paranormal Activity style. Even then, if you really squint, you can sort of see what writer/director Bryan Coyne is going for. It's when demons start crawling out of Imogenes bedroom door - on camera, that things start to turn into a shit show.

One of the main conceits of found footage films is justifying the need for the cameras to be there. The main reason for there to be cameras there should be someones going to fucking watch them. something the makers of Infernal seem to have forgotten. By the time the demons start physically manifesting and appearing on camera, the fact that they are being taped is rendered irrelevant by the fact that no one in the film gives a crap about watching the tapes - yet the tapes continue to roll some how? Sometimes there is justification to make a film found footage, Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity, REC, all have justifiable means for being "found footage" films. The narrative fits with the story telling device. Infernal gives absolutely zero reasons why the film has to be shot the way it is.

The other issue that really sinks Infernal is that simply put, it's boring. I don't mean that it's a Ti West-esque slow burner. I mean it's just a boring film. For every one or two creepy moments, and there is one pretty god kill, there are 10 or 12 scenes of people fighting with each other. I understand that there will be conflict in various relationships, but at some point, for the sake of the audience the confrontation has to lead to something. The conflict in Infernal never goes anywhere, it's just the same argument between the same two (or sometimes three) people over and over again - no escalation, no revelation, and barely any resolution.

All the arguing and people just being terrible to each other leads to one thing - the death knell for any film protagonists - none of the characters are likeable. When there finally is some forward momentum to the story (even at it's glacial pace) there is no one to root for. Imogene may in fact be possessed by something evil, but her parents are such awful characters that we kind of hope she is just so she can get away from them.

Simply put, Infernal is a bad film. It's boring, poorly shot, and makes little to no sense. Even the actors playing Nathan and Sophia seem bored by the third time they have to have the same argument and yell the same things at each other, and if the actors are bored - imagine how bored you will be watching them be bored.

* star out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "Enjoy every sandwich."

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