Written and directed by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, screenwriters of JOHN CARPENTER'S THE WARD, and produced by international bestselling author Glenn Cooper, THE INHABITANTS revolves around a young couple that gets more than they bargained for when they renovate a neglected bed and breakfast in New England. After a series of disturbing events, the husband begins to suspect that something evil is lurking within the walls of this old house, and whatever it is has set its sights on his wife. Now he must fight to uncover the inn's dark secret before this malicious spirit consumes everything he loves.
In the film, THE INHABITANTS Dan and Jessica Coffey, have just bought an old house, which dates back to the early colonists, of some 350 years ago. The house, which was dubbed the "March Carriage, has for decades, served as a bed and breakfast, owned by an elderly couple. However, the patriarch's death, have brought them to this point. For the Coffey's owning a Bed and Breakfast, is a fulfillment of a dream, as they hope to restore the house to it's former glory, making it once again fully functional. Initially, minus a few routine "bumps in the night", everything starts off nicely, but soon, it is apparent that something isn't quite right with the Coffeys' new place of residence. Several disturbances eventually pique the interest of Jessica who begins to read up on the town's folklore. And this, is of course, when Dan and Jessica find some startling information regarding the house. History states that in 1965, Arthur and his wife, Lydia, built the March Carriage, and that, Lydia was a midwife. As a midwife, Lydia cared for a number of the colony's children. But when virtually all of them got sick, the blame was put upon Lydia, by the town, who accused her of being involved in witchcraft. While viewing her as a witch, she was subsequently hanged on October 16, 1669. The story then states, that although Lydia March was put to death, the town wasn't rid of her, it would seem. Because when several of the colony's children go missing, never to be seen again, some believe Lydia, again was responsible. Viewing this as some sort of sensationalized folk tale, the Coffey's are quick to dismiss it. However, it is when Dan goes away on a business trip, that the details surrounding the house's history appear to be true, because upon his return, he finds that Jessica is no quite herself, and is, in fact, acting very strange. After a ghostly encounter inside the house, it appears that Jessica's body has been taken over by the witch, who once resided at the March Carriage, and that she and her "children" are, now out for blood.
The Rasmussen brothers(Shawn and Michael), the minds behind, the John Carpenter film, THE WARD, are back with their latest, the supernatural/haunting flick, THE INHABITANTS. To form it's story, the Rasmussens go back to the witch trials of the 1600s to draw inspiration. And it is probably no coincidence, that the house used in the film as the "March Carriage", was actuality once in the center of real life witch trials controversy itself. One of the oldest houses in New England, in 1669 The Noyes-Parris House, was the home of the Salem Witch Trial Children. The 2 children who made the initial witch allegations, which started the whole thing. Here, the Rasmussens use the house's creepy interiors, as well as exteriors, to stage their take on classic haunting and ghost tales, which is set in modern times. The end result, despite ending strong, is one that is fairly uneven.
Initially, THE INHABITANTS is a slow burner, as it attempts to establish its story as well as characters. At the beginning, there is a lot of dialogue between our couple, Dan(Michael Reed), and Jessica(Elise Couture) as the film gives us a feel for who they are. It also sets up a number of scenes which hint of things to come. That things are a little off at the Bed and Breakfast. It has a few scatted jump scares, and reveals here and there, but it is a while before the film reaches the heart of the story, as the film sort of drags along. But it is when we reach the midway point that things do pick up. Things at this point develop rather quickly and, the spin that is put on both the idea of hauntings as well as, witches is rather interesting. I really liked the whole back-story provided here, about how Lydia March was once a midwife, who took it a little too far, as she was also a witch. One whom would "feed" the children, substituting traditional milk for blood, and how this tied into the later disappearance of the children, as to say that they were searching for her. It is certainly a nice twist on the whole witch idea. Also handled nice here, is the possession angle, in which Jessica eventually finds herself possessed by the spirit of Lydia. Both of these plot developments are imaginative and fun, however, as a whole, I feel that they come a little too late in the film. As the film eventually comes to a close, the viewer has a feeling of not having seen a enough. Perhaps if the film's earlier scares been more effective, it would have worked out better. I feel as though the film's small budget might have prevented it, in the beginning from going all out with its scares, as they come off sort of hindered a bit. Perhaps is wouldn't have had so much time in between solid scares, the film would have come across better overall.
As for the film's acting and so on, I really have no complaints. Michael Reed and Elise Couture, work together to create a believable dynamic as the film's couple. They are both a likable, which is why the film's latter, and better moments are so interesting, as we want to see just what will become of them in the end. The performances, as well as some interesting moments throughout make THE INHABITANTS a film that is somewhat enjoyable, once we are able to get past that initial hurdle, that the film's slow pace. In the end, THE INHABITANTS, as I said, really is an uneven affair. It is a film that has its moments, but one that never fully reaches it's full potential. With that said however, I have to say that I did like the overall plot, as well as some of its dark imagery.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
When it comes with the Rasmussen brothers and me, I guess things are pretty hit and miss. The first thing I saw from them was THE WARD, which is a film which that they wrote, and John Carpenter directed. I liked that film pretty much. Next up was 2013's haunted asylum film, DARK FEED. That was a film that I didn't much care for to be honest. It had a good idea, yet fell short of its potential. Here with THE INHABITANTS we are met with a little bit of the same scenario. It's pretty good when it gets going, but the thing is that, it just takes too long to get there. There are good ideas involved, but in the end, we are left with wanting more. It all just comes a little too late to fully flourish.