After losing his wife and child in a car accident, a man with abilities to enter the minds of possessed victims faces his biggest challenge yet when a young boy fall victim to a demon.
Going into Incarnate, I went in with really no expectations. I figured it was just going to be another possession movie that I’d seen numerous times. It is this, but it is also self-aware (a character refers to The Exorcist) and tries to set itself apart from other films in the possession genre. It’s not a great film by any means, but considering the string of recycled garbage of possession films we’ve gotten, it’s one of the more entertaining ones I’ve seen in a while. This is due to the fact that it jumps into the story right way. Right in the opening sequence is when the kid gets possessed and we get enough insight of him and his mother to form a strong enough picture. From there, we are introduced to our lead and what he can do, and then bam he’s assigned to this kid. We don’t get the gradual creepy possessed-kid crap that every other movie like it has. This demon knows what it wants to do and it’s not playing scary games to creep or gross others out.
To back track a little, our main character’s abilities and his theories are pretty neat and a cool insert to the story. Think of it like Inception, and the possessed victim is trapped in their dream-world, and the demon is holding them back from “waking up”. His job is to go in and “wake up” the possessed victim. It throws all the religious junk out the window and throws in science instead (Tom Cruise would be proud). So that’s the gist of it, and I thought it was pretty cool. There isn’t much scariness or really scares for that matter here. Only one jump scare that I recall, everything else is more thrilling enough to keep you interested. However I will say that at point a kinda-sorta plot twist was revealed and I thought that was how the movie was going to end (and I would have been pissed cause that was awful), but it never happened. The writer does have fun though playing with the audience (at least with me), in psyching them out for how it is going to end. Think of it like the movie 1408 and it’s psych-out endings. The final ending I was satisfied with because of how it played out. Some may not agree, but oh well.
Aaron Eckhart does very well with the lead role, he’s not exactly top-notch in it, but he doesn’t treat this like it’s a mere paycheck film. Carice van Houten and David Mazouz do well enough with their mother and son roles, but nothing admirable. Apart form Eckhart, I loved his two assistants played by Keir O’Donnell and Emily Jackson. I seriously wanted more scene with these three characters. The chemistry the three had together was fun and very sibling-like. And the assistants as characters were very down-to-earth and caring about each other, Eckhart’s character and the people they help. The weakest link here is Catalina Moreno who works for the Vatican and convinces Eckhart’s character to help the boy. She provides a very bland performance and not much else. Though it doesn’t help that she had no real character development or character arch herself.
Incarnate isn’t a great film, but it is a short and to the point possession horror film that doesn’t really seek to scare, but definitely to entertain by bringing something a little different to table and being self-aware. The cast provides fine enough performances and likable characters, and overall it’s a decent way to spend an hour and a half.