The Inhabitant: A Blend of Slasher and Whodunnit
Jerren Lauder’s film, titled “The Inhabitant,” is a captivating combination of a slasher and a whodunnit. It takes inspiration from the infamous story of Lizzie Borden, who was accused and acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother in 1892. Lauder weaves in paranormal rumors and historical claims of a “curse” on the Borden descendants to add an eerie and atmospheric element to the narrative.
A Teenager’s Terrifying Visions
The story revolves around Tara (played by Odessa A’zion), a seemingly ordinary teenager. She is involved in activities like playing field hockey and designing clothes to sell online. However, her life takes a chilling turn as she starts having horrifying visions of brutally murdering her own family with an axe. As Tara unravels her family’s dark history and their connection to Lizzie Borden, she becomes haunted by the question of whether there is something truly sinister residing within her.
An Atmosphere of Unease and Suspense
The movie opens in the darkness of the woods, subtly hinting at the impending horror. A figure dressed in period clothing sharpens an axe, setting the stage for the lingering unease that permeates the majority of Lauder’s film. The suspense is expertly crafted, skillfully keeping the audience on edge and suspicious of every character as the body count rises. The cinematography by Bian Sowell further enhances the tension, while Sanford Parker’s music occasionally leans towards clichÃ© horror territory.
Thrills, Chills, and Gruesome Deaths
“The Inhabitant” delivers plenty of scares and gruesome deaths. Kevin Bachar’s well-crafted script emphasizes the thrilling elements of slasher horror and the intrigue of a whodunnit mystery, propelling the film forward with a sense of urgency and efficient spookiness. Tara’s character, portrayed by A’zion, becomes the captivating center of the story. Her fear, vulnerability, and potentially fragmented psyche are convincingly portrayed, influencing the way the people around her are portrayed. Whispers between her parents (Leslie Bibb and Dermot Mulroney) and meaningful glances from her best friend, Suzy (Lizze Broadway), paint a vivid picture of a troubled teenager trying to make sense of her haunting experiences.
Faltering Themes and Missed Opportunities
However, where the movie falls short is in its exploration of themes like mental illness and generational trauma. It employs schizophrenia as a plot device without exploring into it with enough depth. Meaningful discussions between Tara and her parents or therapist are glossed over, weakening the film’s thematic elements. The inclusion of these themes feels forced and rushed, detracting from the story’s potential impact. “The Inhabitant” could have been even stronger if it had focused solely on the supernatural aspects, avoiding the attempt to diagnose its axe-wielding protagonist.
An Atmospheric Ghost Story and Murder Mystery
In spite of its shortcomings, “The Inhabitant” remains an atmospheric, engaging, and entertaining film. Its ending may not completely satisfy, but for the most part, it functions well as a spooky story. While it doesn’t bring anything entirely fresh to the enduring intrigue surrounding Lizzie Borden’s infamy, it does highlight the timeless allure of salacious true crime stories.
Release and Availability
“The Inhabitant” is set to be released on Digital Download in the UK & Ireland on August 14th, 2023. The film is currently available on digital platforms and on demand in the US: watch “The Inhabitant” now!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does “The Inhabitant” blend elements of slasher and whodunnit genres?
2. Who plays the central character, Tara, and how does the actress portray her emotions?
3. What themes does the film attempt to explore, and how successful is it in doing so?
4. How does the movie create a sense of unease and suspense throughout?
5. When and where can audiences watch “The Inhabitant”?
Despite its thematic missteps, “The Inhabitant” delivers a chilling mix of slasher and whodunnit genres, fueled by an eerie atmosphere and a gripping central performance. While it falls short in its exploration of mental illness and generational trauma, the film succeeds in keeping audiences engaged and entertained. With its release, it adds another chapter to the enduring fascination surrounding Lizzie Borden’s infamous story.