When it comes to found footage, the biggest challenge is coming up for a reason to be shot that way. This leads to the guy who films everything scenario or the camera crew scenario, both of which are less than convincing. The new film Inner Demons attempts to bring something new to the table by taking place during a Reality-style Intervention show. Is it successful? That is going to depend on you.
Catholic school good girl Carson (Lara Vosburgh) is not quite the girl she used to be. Having gone from an A student to failing heroin addict, as well as becoming the poster child for The Craft remake, her parents are understandably concerned. Not knowing who to turn to, parents Steve (Christopher Parker) and Beth (Colleen McGrann), do what any responsible family would, they turn to reality TV. Enter reality show parasites producer/host Suzanne (Kate Whitney), cameraman Tim (Brian Flaherty), and cameraman Jason (Morgan McClellan). Why is there no sound guy? Trust me, it will be the least of your wonders.
After a painful (to sit through) intervention, we follow Carson to rehab while she insist that her heroin problem is really a solution. It keeps a dark presence inside her at bay. Cameraman Jason, who has really begun to have a thing for her, attempts to step in and help her. What was a bad situation to start with is about to get worse.
To start off with, Lara Vosburgh is engaging as Carson. She immediately grabs your interest, which is difficult to do from under the ridiculous goth persona. The problem is that she gets no help from most of her supporting cast, leaving a good performance to stand alone amongst a couple of seriously creepy effects and a good intention.
I could understand wanting to go the found footage route given the background of director Seth Grossman, as former producer for A&Es Intervention. However, one does not lead to experience in the other, and it unfortunately shows in the finished product.
It seems that horror has gotten to the point where found footage is the rule, not the exception. It has actually become an event when a film is NOT found footage and that alone is troubling. Inner Demons does not NEED to be shot in this format (few really do), and the result hurts its credibility. If this is intended as show footage, why is the camera crew such a focus? We constantly see them on camera talking about nothing. I guess this is supposed to be character development but it simply plays as filler and more importantly, it takes the focus off of Vosburgh, who having done a credible job carrying her first feature, is undermined by sloppy decisions, illogical editing, and a format that incites mocking.
Inner Demons is not a bad film on its own, but the fact that it is mildly engaging only amplifies the failure to deliver on its potential. Found footage may hide a low budget to an extent, but it also amplifies it. Bad acting and cringe-worthy line readings are giving no camouflage visually or audibly. Its hard to save a bad script but easy to destroy a good idea and that is what is happening here. Inner Demons is best left for the casual horror fan or found footage enthusiast. In case you are wondering, this is an intervention. Heed my warning.