MOVIE REVIEW – Ever since William Friedkin’s The Exorcist made in 1973, and its follow-ups, demonic possession of children, is a theme that’s never getting old. Earlier this year the pretty solid The Conjuring 2 chilled us in the theaters, and now we have Incarnate, which is a mix between Insidious and Inception. Was this a good idea?
Dr. Seth Ember is a peculiar exorcist, who doesn’t use sermons, cross and The Bible, rather enters the subconscious minds of the possessed people to save them through their subconscious. Yes, nothing truly original here, as besides The Exorcist, there’s also one Insidious and one part Inception here. Still, Incarnate could have been a nice exorcist horror movie, if only…
Where’s my suspense?
… if only suspense could as perfectly added and maintained as it was done in The Conjuring 2. You can’t just show some kid possessed by a demon sitting around while our valiant, wheel-chaired hero tries to enter in his subconscious and get him rid of the said demon. Besides an initial scary scene, when the young boy is attacked by a demon-possessed bum, the scare-factor is second to none. It’s perhaps due to two major issues.
For one, there’s a distinct lack good special and visual effects regarding the demon possessed humans, the demons themselves and the general background while in the subject’s “dreams.”
Another problem is the way the scenes themselves are made with almost zero suspense before some of the “action” scenes when Seth Ember is fighting the demons and of course, lack of true horror scenes as well. Constantine, with Keanu Reeves, was a similar exorcist-movie, which was only decent at best, but it was still a lot scarier than this movie.
Where’s my story?
The story in Incarnate has an interesting start, with the exorcist going into your head, instead of using the old „Christian” methods. Then it just goes more and more downhill. We are told that Dr. Ember (Aaron Eckhart) once had a car crash, where he lost his wife and kid due to a demon, who too control of another woman driver and ever since he’s chasing that demon.
That very demon is now inside a kid, whose mother is desperate to save him and a sexy (?) “agent” of the Vatican (Catalina Sandino Moreno) contacts Dr. Ember and offers him a bag full of money. Dr. Ember first turns down the offer, then (as he learns that the demon is indeed inside the boy, he decides to save the kid.
Lovely babe Catalina Sandino Moreno is easy on the eyes, but she has zero credibility as the Vatican’s “agent.” Her character also has a “change of heart” at the end of the movie, which destroys her whole personality.
Game of Thrones star Carice van Houten’s talents are also wasted: the evil but very seductive priestess and witch in the TV series here are just a scared mom, with little else to do then flashing her cleavage a bit and being a plot device.
As to Aaron Eckhart himself: he gets the job done, he’s a credible demon hunter, but phony dialogs are not really letting him shine his acting abilities.
While the basic idea wasn’t that original to begin with, still, the mixture of ideas and genres could have worked. Aaron Eckhart plays a convincing, and rather interesting character (if not so much, than Constantine in the comic books) and the premise of entering in human mind to kill demons is also an interesting idea.
However, Ronnie Christensen couldn’t really write much out of this basic idea than a predictable scenario with a stupid ending. Shame.