Infernal Movie Review
Written by John Colianni
DVD released by Uncorked Entertainment
Written and directed by Bryan Coyne
2015, 99 minutes, Not Rated
VOD released on April 10th, 2015
Andy Ostroff as Nathan
Heather Adair as Sophia
Alyssa Koerner as Imogene
Joes Rosete as Stan
Camcorders, since their popularization in the '80s and '90s, have been an amazing way to capture the most captivating and important events in history or the first time your kid flushed a toilet and you thought the world needed to know. Whatever the case may be, the fact is that anyone now has the ability to share anything and everything with the world at large. With the invention of the Internet, data and video is shared that much faster and in much greater quantity. Enter the genre of “found footage horror”, which exploits these technologies and makes horror movies even more real and convincing to audiences. That has been the single largest appeal about these types of films for me. You can get lost in the idea of being on the opposite side of the camera and witnessing the plot unfold first hand from the eyes of those involved. If executed properly, the illusion that all you're seeing is real is achieved. If not, it ends up looking like a home movie of your first birthday, when you shit yourself and everyone laughed at you. Unfortunately, Bryan Coyne's Infernal lies somewhere in between.
Young couple Nathan and Sophia are about to be newlyweds and are also expecting parents. Through the lens of their new camcorder, their wedding is documented, as is the birth of their daughter, Imogene. Fast forward a few years later and Imogene begins to exhibit strange behavior and as a part of figuring out her underlying issues, Nathan and Sophia again turn to filming their daughter. Thinking that Imogene may have a degree of autism, events take a turn for the strange and other fears are realized and more sinister forces are thought to be in play. The fears of every parent are then realized: time out doesn't do a goddamn thing when your child happens to be possessed by demonic forces.
Infernal initially does a great job of setting an ominous tone, showing the audience from the start that some serious evil is in play. The acting is decent and the chemistry between Andy Ostroff (Nathan) and Heather Adair (Sophia) is believable. Production value is good and it doesn't look like someone with Parkinson’s is running around with a camera (I'm looking at you Cloverfield). Special effects don't play a huge role either and what was used was done with. The main issue with Infernal is substance. There just isn't a whole lot going on in the film's 99-minute running time. There's the usual “what the in the unholy taint is wrong with our daughter?!?!?!?!” going on, as well as the obligatory priest showing up saying, “Yeah your child is Satan's bitch, kthanxbyeee.” The climax of the film tries to deliver some scares and gore, but at that point my disinterest had already taken hold. The creepy, demonic children theme has been around for what seems like forever and some movies are able to accomplish what they're trying to sell to audiences. Infernal unfortunately falls quite short of this.
I'll say this until the day I die (and my horrific death is inevitably recorded and uploaded to YouTube): in “found footage” films there should be something happening that warrants its being recorded. Sure, there has to be some build up so it's not just an hour and a half of heads rolling and blood shooting out of random severed stumps. But when there is way too much downtime in the middle of what seems like a strong start for an independent production, it is hard to recover from feeling bored and indifferent. Also, just for argument sake, who the hell names their kid Imogene? I'd hope I ended up possessed if my parents, who have normal names like Nathan and Sophia, named me after something that sounds like it came from The Chronicles of Narnia. For more authentic scares involving little kids and demonic forces, you're better off sticking to something like Mama or MTV's Teen Mom series. Whatever floats your boat.