Jessica (Elise Couture) and Dan (Michael Reed) decide to buy an old Bed and Breakfast in Massachusetts together. But it doesn’t take long after moving that they realize that something is going on in the house. There is a presence that haunts them and as Dan has to travel for work, it’s Jessica who carries the brunt of the unsettling events that keep piling up.
The Inhabitants manages to find some wriggle room in genre conventions and adds some new things in what could have otherwise been a rather tired re-hash of haunted house stories. It does have faults, but they are forgivable.
Low budget horror is hard to pull off (which is not to say that a big budget is any guarantee) and sometimes The Inhabitants struggles with its budget limitations which goes hand in hand with directors who are not that experienced yet. As is often the case with small movies, for example, the cast could have used a stronger directing hand here. But they are very far from actual bad acting and since the script treats them well, that is not as much of an issue as it could have been (even though the constant honey-sweetie-baby-calling of Dan and Jessica seemed a little forced to me. But that might just be my cold European heart talking).
Speaking of the script, it’s probably the strongest part of the entire film. I loved that they took a haunted house premise and added witches, possession, creepy children and body horror for an interesting mixture that made the old genre parts shine in a new light. I would have liked it if the intersections of these things would have been explored a little more.
Directly connected to that, though, is also the part that I liked the least: personally I find horror movies featuring witches extremely difficult, especially when they are made by men. Too quickly it all becomes misogynistic. In this case it never gets that bad, but I did have my issues with the woman whose increasingly weird behavior ties directly into a child wish that practically destroys a loving relationship and makes both the child wish and the woman seem alien, possessed by evil.
But altogether, despite the lack of budget and experience that makes itself felt at times, The Inhabitants proves to be a tense, atmospheric film that I very much enjoyed watching. I’ll keep my eyes on the Rasmussens’ future ventures.