Written by: Tera Kirk
Directed by: Seth Grossman
Cast: Lara Vosburgh, Morgan McClellan, Kate Whitney, Brian Flaherty
Carson Morris (Lara Vosburgh) is sixteen, addicted to heroin, and the latest subject of an Intervention-style reality show. A film crew interviews her parents, her friends, Carson herself–all while making sure to get lurid footage of her shooting up. Carson’s claims of demonic possession are a nice angle, too. Exploitative? Sure. But sometimes it takes exploitation to get someone the help she needs.
But it’s after Carson detoxes that the real trouble starts–both for the characters, and for the movie as a whole.
A found footage film by Seth Grossman, Inner Demons is most interesting when it’s focusing on the TV crew of the reality show. The interventionist can’t be bothered to read Carson’s three-page briefingWhen Carson attacks her friend during the intervention, the producer is downright gleeful. (“You’ve got your promo!” she tells the folks at the network.) And these are people who claim to be attempting to educate the public about drug addiction.
But when this dolled-up “reality” makes way for the supernatural, the movie loses its imagination. When Carson starts speaking languages she doesn’t know in a strange voice and projectile-vomiting, I had no doubt what was happening–not least of all because I’ve seen these signs so many times. Add the dropped cameras, the big reveals that we only know about when characters decide to tell them to the filmmakers, and climactic scenes in the dark (the lights come back on when the climactic scenes are over), and Inner Demons loses its freshness.
I was also annoyed with Jason (Morgan McClellan), the rookie cameraman who believes Carson about the true nature of her problems. Maybe he’s supposed to be annoying–another character says he’s one of those guys who needs women to save. (Spoiler alert: it’s true.) When he’s stalking Carson’s house to keep an eye on her after getting her kicked out of treatment, then calling her parents and demanding to speak to her, I’m sure we’re supposed to be sympathetic: after all, who else is trying to help? But in general he comes off as the worst kind of forced love interest. (Perhaps if he’d been an established friend/boyfriend/family member, he wouldn’t seem so obsessive.)
All in all, Inner Demons starts out well enough, but falls into tired horror movie tropes just when it should be getting good. It’s an interesting commentary on reality TV culture, but a lackluster horror flick.