Enough of the shaky home video camera already!
by Martin Hafer
Infernal tells the story of a couple who get married, have a child and live an increasingly difficult life. Much of this is because they have a weird little girl suffering from autism. The child starts acting creepy and you see glimpses of demonic-type activity on the family’s home video cameras.
Originality is the first of several technical victims in Bryan Coyne’s strained horror of demonic possession that’s been handily recorded on ever-present camcorders, wielded by what one assumes are folk suffering from acute hand tremors.
Under the guise of keeping tabs on their creepy daughter Imogene (Alyssa Koerner), shooting a wedding or simply filming everything that moves, cameras never fail to capture cheap jump scares, and a certain amount of well-created tension. The story does contain some nice creepy moments, but sadly, not enough to keep horrorhounds truly satiated. Also, I have a strong prejudice against movies that employ the unsteady cam, but I believe if a film is genuinely entertaining then that will come through, allowing me to put aside my personal feelings.
Clearly put together on a low budget, the aptly titled Infernal has mostly even performances by the cast. Young Alyssa Koerner — in only her second movie role — displayed lots of confidence, allowing her to convincingly portray a little girl who’s possessed by a demon. Imogen’s dad, Nathan, is played by Andy Ostroff, with mom Sophia, played by Heather Adair. While the actors did struggle slightly when it came to trying to avoid crossing that line into overacting territory, I actually put that down to there not being enough takes by director Coyne. You’ll find that few actors get every take right, and I feel that’s all that’s happened here.
The dialogue was also problematic, and all too often the characters just said “f*ck” at the exclusion of something meaningful. This is common when there’s a lack of experience. However, we all have to start somewhere.
I can’t really recommend Infernal, unless you absolutely love low-budget found-footage fare. Beyond that, though, I’d leave it be.