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The Inheritance - Blu-ray Review

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The Inheritance - Blu-ray Review

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3 Stars

I wish every family reunion could be this weirdly exciting.  They aren’t.  There’s a reason most people groan at the very thought of reunions, yet most of us don’t imagine the horror of it all.  Enter writer/director Robert O’Hara and his take on the thriller genre.  With an African American cast complete with the first-to-be-killed token white couple (a nice and welcomed twist to the standard horror formula), his vision of one family’s “reunion” in order to secure their inheritance turns into a bloodbath of epic proportions during the very dead of a cold and hard winter day.  The Inheritance might not be the freshest of horror films, but it is certainly an original take on the whole idea of …ehem… blood relatives.

Five cousins – portrayed by Golden Brooks, DB Woodside, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Rochelle Aytes and Shawn Michael Howard – arrive to see their enigmatic Uncle Melvin (Keith David) with the hope of getting news about or possibly receiving their inheritance.  Everyone is having money issues these days and the descendants of this wealthy family are no exception.  Only this family – this bloodline – is the exception for an ancient guardian, unknown to the younger members of the family, looks after them.

They arrive in the dead of winter and the house is empty.  Only a note and some party favors are there to greet them.  Even more mysterious, yet the guests pay it no mind and party like it’s 1999.  It isn’t and the joke, revealed the next morning, is on them.  They are to be sacrificed to the mystical voodoo god Chakabazz (Lanre Idewu); a god which delivered their family out of slavery and into wealth.  Sacrifices must be offered in order for the family riches to remain.  Thus, the reunion is necessary so that the elders can sacrifice all but one of the cousins.

The film might deal with trace offerings of voodoo and the occult, yet its strength comes from its characterization (no stereotypes here) and its very unsettling atmosphere.  No warmth.  No peace and nothing but snowy white surroundings to greet the exposed flesh of the family’s fresh offerings.  The film isn’t without its flaws, though.  It’s billed as a horror film, but it leans more toward the thriller aspect with only hints of the horror inflicted upon the cousins.  In spite of the what they see written in blood on the walls and windows, the younger generation can’t quite put their faith in the idea of Chakabazz and wrestle with the reality of the situation and what they once knew to be true.  Visions of the spirit impregnating one member and gutting another haunt the film, still the cousins can only do so much to stay alive.

We know they’re doomed.  They don’t.  So, in the spirit of survival, we watch as they flee on foot and then on snowmobile; running from the spirit that brought their family so much wealth over many generations.  A little bit of irony that isn’t conveyed in such a hokey manner.   Unfortunately, there are a lot of missed opportunities as the film spirals toward its conclusion.  Killers aren’t identified and ghostly images flicker without merit as the backstory is weaved into current on-screen happenings.  When we are presented with panel camera effects during one of the cult’s ceremonies without reason, the puzzling questions of why come rushing to the surface; however, because O’Hara spent time developing the characters we do want to know what happens to them.  That is saying a lot for their development as people.

The Inheritance has made the festival circuit and won its fair share of prizes and awards, but it still doesn’t come across as a wholly satisfying experience.  It certainly isn’t for everyone but does offer a bit of originality for the genre and deserves to be appreciated on some level of independent filmmaking.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Inheritance - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: NR.
Director
: Robert O'Hara
Writer
: Robert O'Hara
Cast:
Rochelle Aytes; Golden Brooks; Keith David; André De Shields; Demetrius Grosse
Genre: Thriller
Tagline:
The Inheritance
Memorable Movie Quote: "Lock every door in the house"
Distributor:
Duly Noted, Inc
Official Site:
Theatrical Release Date:
None
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 12, 2011 (DVD only)

Synopsis: Five ambitious cousins set out on a family reunion during the dead of winter. The purpose of the retreat is to secure their inheritance, a fortune that dates back many generations. During the weekend, as each of the cousins mysteriously disappear, they learn the truth about their family legacy, blood ancestry and the ultimate sacrifice they must make in exchange for their beloved inheritance.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Inheritance - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

1 Star



Blu-ray Experience
2 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 12, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

The lighting on this film is pretty low and that makes for some relatively grainy sequences that look sub par and a little rough. The AVC encoded 1080p 1.78.1 widescreen transfer from Image Entertainment is fairly nice, though. Texture and colors are strong throughout – even during the night sequences – and, for an independent feature, the color reproduction is quite vivid. The DTS-HD 5.1 mix sounds great and offers a healthy auditory field for the film to play out upon.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Other than offering the film’s trailer, there are none. Sad, I know. The supplementals often get overlooked on these independent releases; a disappointment because some people, like myself, were hoping for some background information on the film’s origin.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Trailer}

{pgomakase}

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