Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined the films Paranormal Activity and The Omen? The answer is the film Infernal (2015). This movie shows us exactly what happens when parents are too busy fighting with each other to pay any attention to their literal “demon spawn.” Of course, if you also spent most of your time dropping f-bombs like they were going out of style, you probably wouldn’t have much free time for anything else either. Nonetheless, this film is an interesting spin on the flooded and soon to be overdone genre of found footage films.
The film starts off with Nathan (Andy Ostroff) and Sophia (Heather Odair) discussing the future of their relationship, and Sophia tells Nathan that she is pregnant and sort of forces him to propose to her. While they are embracing and “celebrating” (as much as you can after being forced to propose) we see a cross on the wall in the background start to spin, demonic voices are heard and an earthquake begins. The forced “pregnancy cover up” marriage and the fact that some type of poltergeist or otherwise paranormal entity was pissed enough about it to cause an earthquake are strong indications that they’re off to a great start. From there we go to the wedding and then 8 years later for Imogene’s (Alyssa Koemer) birthday. This is where we start to see the strangeness that follows Imogene, but the parents seem to think she is just autistic and start to set up cameras around the house to film her daily life per the recommendation of a therapist.
The film sometimes gives us more back story than you would care to see and is pretty lengthy coming in at an hour and forty minutes long. We see way too much fighting between the parents, when that screen time could have been spent on more action and less character build up. The pace can be a little slow at times, but once night falls it gets a little bit more interesting. This film does stay true to the genre with most of the scenes being shot either hand held or on a stationary camera in one of the rooms. You never really get to bond with any of the characters (because they’re so unlikable), so you don’t have to worry about what will happen to them. One of the major issues with the film is that even though there is a ton of build-up, things never really hit the fan in the way that you would expect them to.
The one thing that I was really expecting and this movie failed to deliver on was jump scares. Although it lacks in jump scares, it does deliver on actually showing you what’s causing Imogene’s strange behavior. Some of the best scenes in the movie are seeing the demonic figures coming out of her closet at night and creep around her room. Also as things start to get worse in the house and the demonic influence starts to affect everyone, not just Imogene, you really need to pay attention to almost every scene because there tend to be things lurking around the house. One disappointing aspect was that Imogene was never really able to give off the same ominous vibe that Damien did in The Omen. That could have been a great “wow factor” that would have helped this movie a lot.
In conclusion, this film was entertaining to watch, even if it fell flat at times. If you’re a fan of the found footage genre and liked the Paranormal Activity franchise this is something you should check out. It can be a little rough around the edges with the acting, dialogue, and the overall length dragging things down. However, it makes up for some of those shortcomings with its practical effects and the ominous feeling it produces once the lights go out.
Infernal hits theaters and VOD services on April 10th, 2015.