In The Inheritance, a woman’s inheritance takes her to Europe where she uncovers a dark and disturbing family secret. Once she is alone in the former family manor, paranormal occurrences in the home begin and slowly intensify. She is forced to face her fears to uncover dark secrets lurking in her family history. And the deeper she delves into the secrets the home possesses, the more horrifying the answers become.
The Inheritance walks you through a ton of familiar haunted house story beats. Dusty old furniture covered in sheets. Investigating strange noises in the middle of the night. Finding a secret, walled-off room. Ominous scratches on furniture that look to be from human fingernails.
Unfortunately, listing them out like this is about as scary as when they actually play out on screen.
In horror, timing is super important. To make an impact, you need to cut at the exact right time, raise the music accordingly, and so on. The Inheritance often doesn’t quite manage this. Every time Sasha explored the house and something creepy would happen, it seemed like things weren’t cut together right or didn’t mesh together well. Music and sound effects would suddenly ramp up, but we wouldn’t cut to something new and scary. Or the camera would suddenly flip so we’d see from Sasha’s POV as she peered into the darkness…but we wouldn’t see anything. And instead of the music cues indicating we should be looking for something (ominous, like it’s going to suddenly pop up and scare us), the sound would play like a reveal (DUN DUN DUN!).
I kept thinking, what am I looking at? Am I supposed to see something scary here?
And that was how I felt for most of the movie.
The twist in The Inheritance regarding what happened in the house is decent. I wasn’t really surprised, but I’ve probably seen too many Lifetime movies. Plot-wise, it happened at the right time – a shakeup to keep things interesting. The twist built up the drama for sure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much to escalate the horror. (Which is what you’d expect from a twist in a horror movie.)
Also, the twist contributes to the story, but doesn’t answer any of my lingering questions from watching the film.
What’s with those guys watching the house? Their story escalates significantly, but we never get an explanation. Do they want to take over the house? Keep it empty? Make it so only Sasha lives there? I have no idea.
And what’s with the whole scheme of the people pressuring her to sell the place? It seems like it goes beyond “encouraging someone not to live in a haunted house.” The intensity of the pushback when Sasha doesn’t immediately sell the place makes it feel like their motivations are personal. But I don’t think any of them actually had anything to do with the history of the house.
Basically, I finished The Inheritance a lot more confused than scared.
The Inheritance hits DVD and VOD April 13.