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First Look Review - Infernal

A young girl is possessed by a menacing force.


Review by Troy Balmayer

Directed by: Bryan Coyne

Starring: Lisagaye Tomlinson, Alyssa Koerner, Shane Hartline, Leandra Ryan


A young and in love couple wed after realising they’re to have a child, but once their daughter, Imogene, is born her condition more than worries the pair, as she possesses some concerning behaviour traits, and highly odd events begin to take place around the house. Their relationship is tested as the little girl silently becomes controlled by a menacing force.
The Paranormal Activity series has paved the way for an influx of grainy, more realistic horror, and the use of handheld cameras works quite a lot for Infernal, though the camera in Imogene’s room is framed somewhat too professionally for an apparent parental recording. But looking past that, the devilish figure that crawls into her bedroom is highly unnerving. The film does begin to grate with the characters constantly taking a camera with them everywhere, but sadly that’s part of this territory.
The film suffers in a fair few dead scenes; lulling conversations or moments that end up nowhere really make the movie feel longer than it is. They could easily have been spiced up by something moving in the background or a shifty sound zipping over the scene to build scares and tension, but at least when some spooks come into play they are handled well. Floating toys, misty spaces and barking dogs make for some rather brilliant utilisations of the horror genre and at least director Bryan Coyne attempts to pull off something new. A bleeding pregnancy and the hair combing motif are another pair of examples in providing shock and sustained weirdness.
Sound is of a fluctuating quality in this film; some of the music or rasping effects hit the target and give that necessary chill but some of the sound mixing fails, to put it bluntly. The Satanic laughter is akin to a manipulated laugh found in the Vault of Cliché Horror Sound Effects. Aside from this, the crackling noises work alongside the look of the film and the build up to Infernal's climax, as Imogene comes in like a wrecking ball, is dealt with in silence, which heightens the action.
Found footage horror is of course nothing new, and this film is far from doing anything majorly inventive with the genre, but it’s creepy nonetheless and fits the set mould more than well enough. Outstanding might not be a word to use but it’s near sinister and the character work is in fact the strongest element of the picture. The fractures in the couple’s marriage are utterly believable and their meetings and thoughts about differing matters concerning their daughter are neatly written. The motif of Imogene's comb is a great and simple writing tool, and as a character, her silence is enough to make you know she’s not all there. The only weak scene, in writing and performance terms, is in fact the opening, which sounded so ridiculously dubbed that the acting felt awful.
Nothing refreshing to see here, in this Exorcist/Omen style mash up but some great visuals and magnificent character scripting makes this more than an average watch, and the pay-off of the film is unexpected and brilliantly done.




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