have to assume any New England building dating back to the Seventeenth Century
must have been involved in witchcraft in some way. The historic Noyes-Parris
House, former home of Rev. Samuel Parris of Salem Witch Trial infamy, is a good
example. Fittingly, the early Colonial house serves as the central location of
brothers Michael & Shawn Rasmussen’s old school The Inhabitant (trailer here), which releases today on iTunes.
the freakiness of Rose Stanton, the somewhat age-addled retiring proprietor, a
married couple is delighted to buy the March Carriage bed & breakfast—and for
such a reasonable price. Dan and Jessica Coffey believe it is an investment in
their future, but they really did not poke around enough. If they had, they
might have noticed the weird witchcraft paraphernalia in the cellar and the
video surveillance monitors still functioning in the attic. They also might have
been curious to learn Lydia March, a midwife accused of witchcraft, met her
grisly end while living there.
first few days are filled with rustic charm, but when Dan is suddenly called
away on business, he returns to find a radically different vibe. If only their
dog Wiley could talk. Instead, he will have to look for answers in the
surveillance tapes and the local witchcraft museum.
is no question the Noyes-Parris/March Carriage is an absolutely terrific location
for a horror film. The Rasmussen Brothers fully exploit it, taking viewers into
all sorts of dark rooms and passageways. The
Inhabitants bears obvious comparison to Ti West’s The Innkeepers (some of his fans were down on it, but we were
bullish on it here), with good reason. Both films seem to absorb and project
the eerie energy of their backdrops, creating claustrophobic terror. However, The Inhabitants also brings to mind
films like Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here and, believe it or not, the first V/H/S
film (they both make grainy video tape pretty damn blood-chilling).
course, you can also see stylistic hat-tips to the ambitious low budget horror
films of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Everything feels real and
hand-crafted. Presumably, any computer generated effects were used sparingly. Fortunately,
the Brothers Rasmussen intuitively understand what we do not see is always scarier
than what we clearly can (especially if it is cheesy looking). They also
created an intriguingly eerie backstory that rings true to local lore. While we’re
at it, let’s give Wiley (a.k.a. Bailey) some credit. He’s very well trained and
rather expressive for a canine performer.
humans are not bad either, particularly Michael Reed as Coffey, the out his
depth everyman. He seems reasonably proactive and intuitive for a horror movie
husband, while Judith Chaffee is suitably unsettling as Stanton. Elise
Couture-Stone holds up her end well enough, but Jessica Coffey is just the sort
of role that demands disciplined consistency rather than method emoting.
Perhaps most impressively, the Brothers
Rasmussen demonstrate a really strong eye for visual composition. You can tell
throughout The Inhabitants that they
have carefully determined who and what should be in the foreground and
background of each shot. It is a surprisingly well-crafted and satisfying
ultra-indie film that deserves a wide genre audience. Highly recommended for
horror fans, The Inhabitants is now
available on most major VOD platforms.
Labels: Horror Movies, Rasmussen Brothers, Witch films