The Inhabitant
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

The Inhabitant swings and misses as horror flick

Director Jerren Lauder follows up his 2020 debut Stay Out of the Attic with another film in Lionsgate’s The Inhabitant. Scriptwriter Kevin Bachar wrote the script for the film, which uses the backstory of Lizzie Borden to weave a plot into the story of the film. Tara (Odessa A’zion), who, like any other teenage girl, is just surviving high school, yet her father, Ben (Dermot Mulroney), and mother, Emily (Leslie Bibb), seem strangely distant. 

After visiting her aunt in a mental asylum and spending a night in Lizzie Borden’s actual house, Tara realizes that she is inextricably linked to the horrifying curse plaguing her family line for more than a century. In the midst of a gruesome ax murder spree that is taking place nearby, Tara is experiencing frightening sightings of phantom entities, which lead her to question her own sanity and shocking ancestry. As the list of victims continues to grow and the police close in, Tara is left with no choice other than to confront the demons within her.

I hadn’t seen the director’s previous film, so I primarily hit play on this one to see the acting talents of Odessa A’zion, who will portray the final girl in the upcoming Hellraiser remake. Additionally, ever since they appeared in Copycat and Trick r Treat, I always enjoy seeing Dermot Mulroney and Leslie Bibb in genre flicks. 

Over the years, numerous adaptations of Lizzie Borden’s story have been made to the stage and screen. Lizzie is almost always depicted as the murderer in most of them. A story like hers is always ripe for a possession story or a found footage story. Unfortunately, the pacing of The Inhabitant completely ruins any promise the film might have been able to make. The film opens decently, introducing us to Tara waking up from a nightmare. 

We then cut to her family and come to the realization that they are so busy. Third-time mom Emily barely has time to breathe. Tara’s dad Ben is handling his head of household duties while Trara is just existing. We get to see Tara interact with her boyfriend and best friend, but neither character has any real depth. While I won’t spoil it, one of the two characters does get a moment where we find out they are a cutter, but the scenes appear to come off for shock value. 

Primarily, the film follows Tara as she tries to figure out what’s going on with all of the ax murders. Odessa A’zion held my attention, and she has the potential to be a final girl mainstay. However, she does deserve a much better film than this. Leslie Bibb and Dermot Mulroney do what they can with the material, but both actors are worthy of better material. Most disappointing of all is the film’s twist ending, which is meant to be shock value but doesn’t nail the ending. As always, check the movie out for yourself, but for me, it was a swing and a miss.

 

Final Grade: D+

The Inhabitant will be in theaters and VOD on October 7th

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