The Inherited (2009)

Rating: C-

Dir: Patrick J. Clinton
Star: Khory Pilley, Tyler Cross, Natalie Sieber, Lisa Reeves

A college student (Pilley, looking curiously like a young Roman Polanski) is astonished to discover that he has just inherited a massive Louisiana estate from his maternal grandmother – his shock at this is greatly compounded by the discovery that he had actually been adopted. While initially dubious, he travels to the estate to check it out, along with four of his friends. Sure, it’s a little rundown; still, the locals are friendly enough, in particular cougaresque real-estate agent Cat (Reeves), who takes a shine to our new millionaire. Right up until the point when she vanishes completely from the house.

While the local cops are hardly concerned, given her reputation (or lack thereof, if you know what I mean, and I think you do) around town, that’s just the first of a number of unnerving incidents. He finds his grandmother’s diary and it becomes increasingly clear that Cat is not the only predatory female with whom he’s linked. Does this lunacy run in the family? Stand by: nasty revelations ahead. There’s a decent film in here, struggling to get out. I just don’t think I’ve seen one in greater need of being attacked with an axe: at 132 minutes, it’s probably 45 minutes too long. Far too many scenes serve no real purpose – one particularly lengthy sequence where the friends meander their way into town for a meal comes to mind – and there’s too much “witty” banter between the friends. Quotes used advisedly, since it’s delivered by the actors in a way that tends to remind you they are reading lines.

Much of the first half, up until the finding of the diary, needs to be severely compacted and there’s a gay subplot that should be removed too. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it just adds nothing to the movie, except another needless diversion. When the director gets to the meat of his story, this is by no means bad: there’s some good use of music and one fabulous scene in particular, has two characters trapped in a room, frantically trying to escape because they can hear the screams of a friend from next door. We were left to wonder where this talent was, the first two hours. Clinton seems more concerned with referencing other works than telling his own story, and that’s a shame. What he has here could stand on its own merits.