DVD Review: Inkubus

It must be a great day for any first time horror director to hear that a horror legend is willing to star in your debut film. For Glenn Ciano, the man behind newly-released horror flick Inkubus, this must certainly have been the case - with veteran star of the genre, Robert Englund, taking the title role in his film. If having the star of A Nightmare on Elm Street and the terrifically entertaining, 2001 Maniacs on board was not enough, Ciano also works with respected genre star, William Forsythe. This impressive casting may be enough to generate interest in Inkubus, but Ciano's film is a mixed bag, disappointing in several other aspects.

Inkubus follows a skeleton crew working the last shift in a soon to be demolished police station. They find themselves terrorised by a demon (Englund), who has a score to settle with a detective he battled in previous years (Forsythe). What proceeds is a combination of Assault on Precinct 13, A Nightmare on Elm Street with a small touch of David Lynch's realist style in Inland Empire. Unfortunately, Ciano's film never lives up to the same heights as any of these aforementioned pictures.

Starting with the positive (and there certainly is some) is the relationship built up between Forsythe and Englund's characters. The pair feel like iconic horror adversaries like Halloween's Dr. Loomis and Michael Myers - Ciano's characters have a grand and iconic feel about them, developed through Englund and Forsythe hugely entertaining performances. Englund is at his malevolent best, whilst Forsythe shines as the worn down cop with a troubled past.

The lower budget of Inkubus works in the film's favour - adding a stark and brutal realism to these otherwise highly unbelievable occurrences. Ciano's direction is sharp and allows for some tense scares and makes the most of the darkened, claustrophobic police station setting. We also get to see that he's having a lot of fun with the more gorier elements - feeling like a classic 1970/80s gore-filled slasher. Ciano also plays with some chilling imagery, like the opening of the film which sees for N-Sync star, Joey Fatone, confined in a white cell, repeatedly smashing his head of the walls (Maybe wondering why his solo career never took off like Justin Timberlake's?) - little moments like this are reasonably stirring and make Inkubus a visually interesting watch.

Unfortunately, Inkubus has some rather big letdowns - technically and through its narrative. The editing and cinematography can at points feel incredibly sloppy, which may be down to the low budget. There is one scene in particular where this problem is most noticeable, as Englund's Inkubus escapes from two prison-guards whilst being escorted to a cell - what could have been an interesting display of the Inkubus' supernatural ability is a poorly handled mess. The narrative structure of Ciano's film also disappoints: with a lack of clear structure, holding back on interesting moments and by spending too long on irrelevant scenes - for example there is a sex scene between Fatone's character and a female officer which goes on far too long and seems out of place with the tone of the film. There's also an unnecessary subplot that includes Forsythe's character's dead son, which feels dull and clichéd.

These faults do hinder your enjoyment of Inkubus at points but the main draw is Englund and Forsythe, who are both excellent to watch as these almost iconic adversaries. Ciano shows great promise in the genre and for the most part does incredibly well with Inkubus. Unfortunately, the film does suffer from some sloppy visual aspects and some narrative issues - however, for a throwback to the years of classic slasher horror, then you could do far worse than Inkubus.


Originally written for Cinehouse UK
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