Written by: Mike Ivens
Directed by: Ursula Dabrowski
Cast: Sarah Jeavons, Kerry Ann Reid, Andreas Sobik
Inner Demon is about Sam (Jeavons) who is abducted from her home by a psychopathic couple (Reid and Sobik), only to escape after waking up in the trunk of their moving car. Unfortunately, she is stuck in an unknown wilderness with these two abductors with only a tire iron and her will to live to help her. After managing to keep away from them, she finds a seemingly abandoned house only to realize that this house may not be a safe haven after all.
Inner Demon is an Australian horror film and it seemed to have a lot of promise. Something I really enjoyed about this was that the movie gets rolling into the action very quickly. Immediately what impressed me was the acting by newcomer lead Sarah Jeavons. Most of the film is centered around her, and with very little dialogue. She had to bring out emotions, fear, pain, and strength that very few have been able to pull off convincingly in an indie film like this. I was also impressed with the directorial quality from Dabrowsky, especially with only having one other feature under her belt. There was a lot of good in this suspenseful indie horror, but somehow it seemed to just fall flat.
First to shine is lead Sarah Jeavons. She not only held her own, holding the majority (and I mean around 90%) of screen time, but she was absolutely brilliant in being convincingly terrified while also strong. She made what true terror looks like on someone’s face very believable.
The cinematography by Nima Nabili Rad was also incredible. Great hard light and enough dim light to almost make you lean forward towards the screen to see the little bits in the background that are either obvious, or just hidden enough. The camera is shaky when it needs to shake, and still when it needs to be still.
Dabrowski certainly was able to direct a fantastic feeling a dread throughout the movie. Whether it’s lead character, Sam, running through the wilderness away from her attackers, or the very claustrophobic scenes in the “abandoned” house. She was able to get you gripped throughout.
This is a hard one to pinpoint but one I would point out immediately, unfortunately, is the writing. As the story ended up unraveling, it started not making a whole lot of sense. There was a fourth character that comes in during the second act that seems to exist only to point out how ruthless the lead abductor is. However, it didn’t seem necessary. It felt like it was just something added in to be sure the movie could be called horror versus thriller which in the end didn’t really add to any feeling of being scared. While it may have added a little suspense, the third act all the way to the ending just started to seem like it was thrown in for the sake of having something supernatural in it. While the movie did initially leave me uneasy, it mostly just made me sit with one eyebrow up and a general sense of disappointment. The editing during the chase and cabin scenes also could have been trimmed heavily as it only seemed to cause the movie to drag rather than build up tension.
While I can’t say I did overall enjoy this film too much, I will say it’s worth at least watching once. I hope to see Dabrowski keep making movies, and I will most definitely be looking out for anything Sarah Jeavons will be in.