Now Streaming - Inheritance (2018) - Reviewed

Biological connections are what define the essence of the human experience.  Even when separated from our natural tribes, the heart and mind long to return to familial unit, regardless of past transgressions.  Tyler Savage's directorial debut, Inheritance is a phantasmal reflection on the dangers of memory and the inescapable darkness that binds bloodlines.  A moody walkabout of shattered dreams and living ghosts, this is the fabric of real nightmares. 

Ryan inherits a posh beach house from his biological father, a man he barely remembers, having been adopted at a young age.  Along with his pregnant girlfriend, he journeys to the house intent on discovering more about his real family, the revelations of which slowly begin to erode his sanity.  Savage's script is trimmed down to the essentials, yet even the sparse dialogue presents more puzzles and cataclysmic dilemmas of the soul.  The genius of Savage's artistry is in his balance and control.  The story is purposefully bare bones, relying on both splendid imagery and visual chicanery.  The result is a harrowing tale of bereavement, fear, and ultimately surrendering to the things that define us.  This is a remarkable marriage of horror and psychological distress and despite the difficult, transcendental suppositions, it never slides too far into either direction.

Savage's cast is a quintessential who's who among independent cinema.  Chase Joliet (Krisha) gives a remarkably subtle performance as Ryan.  Viewing the psychological devastation of another human being is always a taxing experience, yet Joliet's ability to meld into the fabric of Savage's perilous design is masterful.  One of the best sequences is an awkward dinner with his adopted sibling and Joliet's visual pain and simmering outrage are terrible to behold.  This is the essence of Inheritance, and Joliet's painful embrace of the material is both difficult to endure and perfectly realized.  He is supported by Sara Montez, whose turn as his paramour is soulful when required and natural throughout.  Their partnership is fully realized, flawed, and ultimately beautiful.  Seeing heartbreak and passion cycle and recycle during a quiet emotional hurricane is perhaps Inheritance's greatest attribute. 

Rounding out the cast is Gotham's Drew Powell (in a delightfully lecherous role) and Krisha Fairchild, who is known for her legendary performance in Trey Edward Shults' Krisha.  While their roles are essentially, cameos, they absolutely devour every scene they inhabit, boosting Joliet into the ethereal realm of psychological terror.  However, it is Drew Daniels' (Krisha) razor sharp cinematography that is the centerpiece.  Savage worked with cinematic legend Terrence Malick, and his influence on several compositions is seen throughout. However, Daniels' confident understanding of Savage's vision is transmuted into an almost Gothic experience.  Quick cuts, reflections, and seamless transitions are woven into the visual framework and the result is an uncomfortable foray into the mind of man undone by his legacy.

Available tomorrow on digital on demand, Inheritance is one of the best horror films of 2018.  While its glacial, interpretative narrative will most likely repulse those expecting a full-on horror experience, viewers who adore slow, symbolic terror will find much to explore.  An outstanding pair of central performances, an unforgettable ambiance of dread, and pristine visuals combine to deliver a unique horror film that promises Tyler Savage has a lot more to say in the genre. 

--Kyle Jonathan