Kidnapped by a pair of murderous psychopaths and subsequently escaping, a girl hides out in their cupboard while the plot of a horror film happens around her. Part brutal kidnap thriller, part supernatural horror schlock, Inner Demon is all cliché, one of the more divisive movies of this year's FrightFest.
Young Sam is the kidnappee in question, abducted from her home one night, along with her kid sister Maddy. Escaping from her kidnappers thanks to a mix of her own tenacity and their incompetence, she makes a good fist of getting away – until, that is, she accidentally takes refuge in the cupboard of their farmhouse. She and her audience had better get used to those surroundings – the film barely leaves the place once she gets there.
Dark, moody visuals, strong gore and some genuinely troubling themes make Ursula Dabrowsky's Inner Demon a difficult one to dismiss – especially in the face of Sarah Jeavons' spirited lead performance – but it's an equally hard one to defend. As bloody and terrified as Sam gets, there's a sense of dullness to everything from the initial chase sequences to the later doom and gloom of life within a household of serial killers. All the time we're left waiting for the inevitable shift of tone and subgenre, which takes its sweet time in arriving. The Madeleine McCann references, if intentional, are ill-advised, lending a sour taste to a film which already has enough problems to deal with.
As Sam would no doubt admit, there's only so much one can accomplish from the inside of a cupboard, and it's this which really hampers Inner Demon. In spite of its accomplished lead performance and impressively oppressive atmosphere, this one is just a bit too introverted.
INNER DEMON / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: URSULA DABROWSKY / STARRING: SARAH JEAVONS, KERRY ANN REID, ANDREAS SOBIK / RELEASE DATE: TBC