Sasha’s (Natalia Ryumina, Skin Traffik, Soldiers of the Damned) father has just died and as the last of her line, she’s gotten everything. So she and her husband Peter (Nick Wittman, Terminator: Dark Fate, Mars) hop a flight to Kyiv to check out part of the inheritance. A large townhouse that originally belonged to her grandfather.
It’s a huge, beautiful, townhouse in the center of the city. This means the fact it’s sat empty since he for so long should be a hint that there’s something wrong. The glares from people on the street as they arrive should be another. The housekeeper’s elusiveness, when asked about these things, should have them sleeping in a hotel.
Writer/directors Chad Barager and Kevin Speckmaier don’t waste any time confirming our suspicions that the building is indeed haunted. A half-glimpsed figure, voices and sounds of violence from the floor above them, there’s even a thunderstorm to add some atmosphere. Everything you would expect from a haunted house.
There are also the expected issues with the locals such as Roman (Yuriy Dyak). He looks like he stepped out of the 1970s and claims to be a lawyer while trying to get Sasha to sign paperwork that’s in Cyrillic. He tries to act friendly and fails. The three sinister-looking goons who stand staring at the building don’t even try to act.
And that’s the problem with The Inheritance, it is everything we would expect, which means there’s nothing unexpected. There’s also nothing particularly scary going on for the first half-hour either. Once Peter takes a flight somewhere, we’re not told where or exactly why, and can’t get back Sasha is left alone in the house. And of course, that’s when things begin to happen.
We hear the voice of her deceased grandfather Yuri (Yaroslav Poverlo, Always Be My Maybe, Seventh Son) arguing with a woman in Russian, and a child crying. An old photo album jumps off the bookcase. And Sasha starts having odd visions, or are they repressed memories?
The Inheritance tries to build some suspense by having Sasha run into issues trying to find out about the house but running into scared or unhelpful locals. Why she didn’t just ask the US embassy to recommend a reputable translator and local historian is beyond me. Instead, we eventually get a long information dump via the telephone.
This sums up a lot of The Inheritance’s problems, it’s all talk. We get an occasional, not very scary, bit of supernatural activity and then it’s back to dialogue. Even the big secret at the root of everything is a familiar letdown and the reveal, unsurprisingly, hinges on some very unlikely actions, fifty or so years in the past.
The Inheritance even wastes the big empty house it’s set in. Those dark corridors and rooms should have been used much more often and to much better effect. There’s never any real sense of fear for what’s haunting them. Roman gives off a more sinister vibe than the ghost does. Sadly he doesn’t turn out to be who or what I thought he was, which was another wasted opportunity.
I get the feeling that The Inheritance, like The Waiting and, to a certain extent, The Haunted Hotel was meant to be a ghost story, but not a horror movie. Unlike them though, it wouldn’t be much fun even if you knew that beforehand. It would still be a dull and talky with none of those films’ charm.
The Inheritance is available On Demand and on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment. You can check their Facebook page for more information.