THE INHABITANT (2022) Reviewed by Steve Kirkham

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THE INHABITANT (2022)

3 stars
The Movie Partnership. Digital download 14th August
The story of Lizzie Borden is a famous murder which took place in Falls River, Massachusetts in 1892. Whilst she was the main suspect in the killing of her father and stepmother she was not convicted – but the trial received extensive coverage in the US press. There was even a rhyme made up about the supposed “forty whacks” from the axe. Much of this is laid out in a long preamble at the start of the movie to get you up to speed. Many of us older viewers probably remember the TV movie starring Elizabeth Montgomery The Legend of Lizzie Borden from 1975.
In The Inhabitant the descendants of the notorious Lizzie continue to live in the small community – some aware of the tragic family lineage. Every October, stories are told of the grisly deaths and of a dark spirit that transfers from woman to woman… taking over their souls, to kill in its name!
A young girl is going for an early morning run when she sees a woman with an axe – and is duly killed. So starts the whacking.
Tara (well played by Odessa A’zion, recently in the new Hellraiser), is in her senior year at high school and struggling. She is plagued by nightmarish visions. There are tensions in the family as her Mum (Leslie Bibb Iron Man, Iron Man 2) wants them all to go visit her sister, who also started having bad dreams at age 16 and, due to killing her child, is in a psych ward. Her mother is concerned that the same thing is happening to her daughter and tells her of the family curse… because they are, of course, descendants of old Liz.
People start being killed and inevitably the police suspect a connection to Tara.
With the background of the Borden murders and the opportunity of some serious chopping you would think this would be a more exciting film than it turned out to be. Instead it is a disappointingly mediocre outing mainly exploring the coming of age of a girl with an overwhelming legacy hanging over her – partially buoyed by the central performances by A’zion and Bibb. Dermot Mulroney is completely wasted in the role as Dad.