Insidious Meets Inception: Original But Not Spectacular


            Ahh Christmas, a time of giving, good will, peace, and evil spirits. Wait… what?  Yes, it seems that the first weekend of December is a time to release films involving demons, ghouls, and whatever apparition you can think to open the holiday season.  This weekend, the name of the film is Incarnate, starring Aaron Eckhart, Catalina Sandino Moreno, and David Mazouz (among others).  Haven’t heard of it?  Don’t worry most haven’t, but nevertheless I’m here to inform you on the latest films to hit the silver screen. Here we go!



  • Plot based horror
  • Eckhart’s acting
  • Decent Thriller


The horror movie genre is not known for having the greatest plots, and often has a frail story to give purpose to the scares.  Fortunately, Incarnate has a more original tale to help it stand and one that isn’t too shabby.  I can best describe it as Inception meets a horror movie, where Dr. Ember (Eckhart) is able to dive into people’s subconscious to exercise demons.  While certainly cheesy, this twist adds a bit of mystery and thrills to add some excitement to what has been a tried and true formula.  This tale has some decent character development and establishes some rivalries that help keep you engaged into the movie as Ember tries to put his demons to rest.

Of course, much of the movie relies on Eckhart’s acting skills. Most know that Eckhart has a limited emotional range he can reach, and he still hits the same gruff, solitary moping that he always portrays. It works in this film, as Ember’s back story promotes his depression and single minded goal of eradicating the darkness at hand.  He sells the suffering and rage built up in him all while making you empathize the trials he has to face.  In addition, his confidence and ability to break the rules makes his character the antihero you love to follow.  Not bad for a main character to which the movie relies on.  The other characters work very well in their roles, there just wasn’t much to go on.

Finally, the movie treads more down the thriller (and somewhat action path) then the horror path.  Incarnate’s tale focuses on the character drama and story than the actual scares, though it does have a few good jumps at times.  The horror element comes in the theme of the evil spirits and possession, but outside of that really focuses on trying to entertain you with thrills and engaging characters.  So, if you’re looking to be scared out of your pants… sorry to disappoint.



  • Not scary
  • Very rushed pace at times
  • Shallow Character development
  • Other characters shafted
  • Demon design


Again, the movie is lacking in scares and the jump scare moments are very predictable/unoriginal in this tale.  Most of the time it’s the sudden blaring of music that will have you jump, eventually being dropped to the background.  In regards to the creepiness, this film can’t help you there either with only the deep seeded voice and a few soulless eyes being the tools to unnerve you. Like I said, the movie focuses on thrills and plot than scares.

And despite that focus, Incarnate’s directors and writers had a good start, but they didn’t take it to its full potentialFor one thing, the pace becomes very rushed at times, a few sequences being so dramatically built up only to quickly end in a bang, crunch, or loud scream. The rushed pace robs the film of the suspense it desires, but also limits the amount of character development. Yes, we get insight into Ember’s backstory, but other parts of his past are left unexplained.  As for the other characters, there tales are either nonexistent, or so simplistic/formulaic that the characters didn’t need to exist in the film. His fellow workers, the mother, and even the demons would have benefitted from some more thinking time, before putting this film out to press. Perhaps the potential sequel will enlighten us more on their lives should it come to pass.  In addition, some of the plot explanations behind the science were laughable.

Speaking of the demons, don’t expect any top notch, award winning monsters that will make you pee your pants or stay up late.  Much of the creatures are reduced to blood shot eyes, or human avatars with dark black eyes that are a little freaky.  I had hoped that there would be a little more sustenance behind these creatures, especially with their importance to the story.  The big, bad leader of the bunch gets a lot of hype, and good news is you get to see it at the end… or parts of it.  Rather than reveal the entire demonic spectacle, they decided to show very little of the demon’s true form.  Why such small portions with such hype?  I don’t know, but it was annoying and kind of stupid in my opinion.


The Verdict:


Overall, Incarnate was a nice surprise in how much story there was in the holiday horror.  Perhaps it was my low expectations going in, but the film had some good thrills to get this last month going.  However, it needed more time, development, editing, and creepiness to truly obtain the masterpiece they were shooting for.  Perhaps the impending sequel will make up for the limitations, especially if the cliffhanger at the end is any indication.  Regardless, Incarnate is a film left for the RedBox, and your money is better reserved for the films coming out later this month. 


My scores:


Horror/Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0


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