It’s unfortunate that The Exorcist is considered the gold standard in horror films, because the film having its Canadian Premiere at the Scotiabank Theatre as part of the Toronto After Dark film festival is no doubt going to draw comparisons because of it’s subject matter.
And that is unfortunate, because the Mexican/Chilean coproduction of The Inhabitant, is a solid film taken on its own merits. It eschews the musical stings and jump scares of the modern Western horror, and instead embraces its subject material, creating its own mythology while marrying it to the general exorcism knowledge that seems to permeate the horror genre.
Carmila (Vanesa Restrepo), Maria (Maria Evoli), and Ana (Carla Adell) are in for a bad night. Carmila is repsonsible for breaking and entering into a house to steal the cash that she knows is there to pay a debt. But she and her sisters picked the wrong night.
Taking the household members, Jose (Flavio Median) and his wife, Angelica (Gabriela de la Garaza) hostage, the trio are stunned to discover a young girl, Tamara (Natasha Cubria) tied up in the basement.
Drawing from their own experiences, and honestly, what everyone else would think as well, they plan to rescue the young girl, but her parents warn the women not to take their daughter out of the house.
Of course, Tamara is not what she seems, and why does the devil have to lie when the truth will serve so much better? As secrets are revealed, the trio of sisters spiral out of control, and all may be lost in this story about truth, secrets, forgiveness and faith.
The Inhabitant is an enjoyable film, different in execution from American horror films, preferring instead to set aside jump scares, and horrific demonic visages for a more toned down tale that is haunting and unnerving none the less.
Cubria’s Tamara is truly frightening, and the reveals which happen throughout the film are there to make you question the will of god or God (depending on your beliefs), and that makes the concept of the devil in this film, and perhaps reality, all the more sly. Because it doesn’t have to pretend anymore, it can use everything in the world to sway you that your god has abandoned you…. but it’s faith that will save you.
The Inhabitant debuts tonight at 7pm, you can get your tickets for it, and other screenings, here. It’s preceded by the short Doors from writer/director Kris Hagen. Pick up your tickets now, and I will see you Toronto… After Dark.