31 Days of Halloween — Day 23: Inner Demons (2014) — by Dr. Shock

31 Days of Halloween - Inner Demons 2014

Editor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast, Universal Monsters Cast and Land of the Creeps horror podcasts. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.

In an effort to help their teenage daughter Carson (Lara Vosburgh), a former straight-A student whose recent heroin addiction is destroying their family, Steve and Beth Morris (Christopher Parker and Colleen McGrann) contact the producers of Step Inside Recovery, a reality-based TV program that, if all goes well, will convince Carson to enter rehab and get her life back on track.

The show’s host / producer, Suzanne (Kate Whitney), makes a bet with her two cameramen Tim (Brian Flaherty) and newcomer Jason (Morgan McClellan) that Carson’s drug problem is a direct result of her father’s alcoholism. But as they spend time with the Morrises and witness Carson’s occasionally-violent outbursts, the trio becomes increasingly convinced that the teenager’s issues run much deeper than disharmony at home. In fact, if Carson herself is to be believed, she needs the heroin to keep an evil spirit that lives inside of her at bay!

Eventually, Carson is taken to a rehab facility run by Dr. Prentiss (Richard Wilkinson), but her behavior grows more erratic as the drugs leave her system. Jason, who has developed feelings for Carson, comes to believe that the poor girl is, indeed, possessed by a demon, and, to help rid her of her unwanted guest, sets out to learn the reasons why she’s now host to a malevolent spirit. The question is: Will he find the answers in time to save Carson, or will the devil inside of her win out in the end?

Much like The Taking of Deborah Logan (in which the lead character’s Alzheimer’s made her more susceptible to the influence of evil spirits), the creative minds behind 2014’s found-footage style horror film Inner Demons discovered an ingenious way to link drug addiction and demonic possession, with its lead character using heroin not for a personal high, but to suppress the monster inside of her.

Later in the movie, when Carson is in rehab, we get to see just how powerful the demon truly is (there are eerie moments captured via surveillance video, though the truly effective scares occur when Carson is meeting with her support group). And while some of the film’s “horrific” sequences aren’t exactly fresh (we get yet another demon face-melting scene, a la The Exorcism of Emily Rose), Lara Vosburgh’s excellent performance as Carson provides the audience with an emotional link to the story, and like Jason (also well-portrayed by Morgan McClellan) we root for Carson’s “recovery” every step of the way.

As with its scare scenes, the third half of Inner Demons treads in familiar territory; the mystery as to how the demon found its way into Carson, as well as a few late revelations about her home life, felt a bit cliché. And while the television program provided a reasonable explanation for utilizing the found-footage style early on, we have no idea why the cameras continue to roll once events spiral out of control. But thanks to its clever storyline, plus a fine performance by Lara Vosburgh, Inner Demons is just good enough to make it worth your while.

—Dr. Shock

Dr. Shock’s links:
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2 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 23: Inner Demons (2014) — by Dr. Shock


    Day 23 – Creep (2004)

    As someone who has never lived in a big city, I’ve never been on a subway in my entire life. I’ve been on trains, planes, and buses, but not subways. While watching Creep, I began to wonder if my lack of first hand experience with subways may take away some of the scare factor of the movie. When the movie relies on horror in the environment that so many are used to being in and having to rely on, I do wonder if perhaps the film is creepier if the viewer is then forced to ride the subway at some point in the aftermath of finishing the film. I’m a fan of any sort of horror where the scares take place in a location that you’re supposed to be comfortable in, or as comfortable as you can feel on public transport, and I find it to be an effective form to add extra creepiness to any plot.

    The characters in the film are kind of interesting to me. You’ve got the two well to do career business people in the lead character of Kate and her co-worker Guy. Neither person is actually likable. To put it blunt, Kate has a tendency to be pretty bitchy to people and at no time in the film is this ever resolved. It’s a weird trait to give your main character when you don’t intend to noticeably change her personality. If Kate is just a little bitchy, Guy is a total scumbag, assaulting Kate in her time of need and had the creature not attacked him when it did, Guy would have raped her. On the other end of the spectrum are the three characters that are either blue collar (Sanitation worker, George) or homeless drug addicts that live in a secret area of the subway station (Mandy and Jimmy). In both cases, these characters are far nicer, willing to put themselves out there to help others, and even die in hopes of helping someone. Even someone like Mandy, who was too drugged out to do much when the horror kicked in, had a nice moment of sorts when she offered to sell Kate her subway pass in order to allow Kate to get on the subway in time. Not that that really mattered though as that silly bint ended up falling asleep while waiting for the subway, causing her to be left alone (or is she?!) in the subway. That seems to be a pretty clear message that regardless of your spot in society, being a good person and a true asset to society is not dependant on your social standing.

    I loved the handling of the creature. In the first half of the movie, the filmmakers actively avoid showing the creature. At most, all you see is just a hand. The first time the creature is fully shown is brilliant. As the lights flicker in and out, Kate is scared and alone. The lights go out and once they come back on, the creature’s face is taking up the entire television screen. It’s a great jump scare without having to rely on music to get the job done. From that point on, the creature is shown in all of its gross beauty. Besides just looking dirty, the creature has many open sores, seems to be a bit mutated causing it to hunch, and most importantly, has a very unsettling sort of scream about it that it lets out whenever it’s harmed. The creature design is simple, but effective, made better by the fact that it was all practical design without CGI.

    The scene that stands out the most is the surgery room scene. There’s a lot that went into this in order to make it so effective. For starters, enroute to their attempted escape, Kate and George pass through the room to find a dead looking Mandy strapped to a table, looking as if she’s already been experimented on. Due to the nerves George felt and the way Mandy looked, he was too quick to assume that she was dead, causing himself and Kate to leave the room just as Mandy summons enough strength to weakly call out for help. Instead of help, the creature arrived. The creature imitates what he’s personally seen a surgeon do while prepping for surgery. The creature washes his hands (No water being used), puts on gloves (Incredibly dirty ones), puts on a jacket, and finally administering the anesthesia (It’s not connected to anything). Bless that creature’s gross soul, he’s trying so hard! It’s even almost adorable when the creature knows to blow into the gloves when you’re having problems putting them on. Right before he begins to hack Mandy up, he begs the creature for her life, which has so much meaning later on when the creature copies it in order to try and trick Kate into not killing him. That scene later on is fantastic as Kate is having some genuine emotion, finally seeing this creature as a person, only to then realize that this sinister creature is practically mocking her, using the final words of a victim to use against Kate. This movie has some legitimately great moments.

    There is a lot of vagueness that will be frustrating for some. The creature’s backstory isn’t flat out explained, but the film does present plenty of clues to allow the viewer to try and piece together what all has happened to the creature. The best I can come up with is that a surgeon once ran an abortion clinic in a hidden area of the subway, but rather than actually kill some of the fetuses, he managed to keep some of them alive, including the creature, whose name is apparently Craig. What a let down. This bad ass creature is named Craig. CRAIG! At some point, the surgeon died and only Craig was left alone to roam the subway system, kidnapping, killing, and eating those who make the grave mistake of being alone in the subway.

    Overall, Creep is a low budget horror that at one point was receiving a decent amount of attention. It seems as if the success of the Mark Duplass film, Creep, took away a lot of the attention that this film had going for itself. Kate not being the most likable causes her to be a difficult main character to root for. When the film does something right, such as the surgery scene, it does it incredibly well. Creep is a rather bloody film that I feel deserves a bit more attention than it receives. I’d recommend it to those who enjoyed The Descent and are looking for something a bit similar, albeit lesser quality.

    Rating: 6/10

  2. Day 23: The Frighteners (1996)

    Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners is an exciting film that, to me, feels like an X-Files episode. Maybe it’s because Frank Bannister and Dr. Lucy Lynskey feel comparable to Mulder and Scully, or maybe it’s just 90’s nostalgia. The early CGI effects are tastefully done and the intriguing mystery keeps you guessing. Michael J. Fox does a great job interacting with with the ghosts and the whole cast is engaging. 8.5/10

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