Sony // 2005 // 87 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 6th, 2007
His dreams are your nightmares.
I don't think Tara Reid is terribly smart in real life. Yet she continues to nab roles in horror films as the brilliant protagonist. Interesting.
Okay, that's all I have to say for this portion of the review.
Jay (Reid) and her pals have their weekend getaway sidetracked by a car accident and find themselves wandering, lost, through unknown terrain. As they plunge deeper into the dense woods, their sense of direction evaporates. Utterly lost and panicked, the friends are desperate for shelter and when they find a mysterious installation, despite its sinister, enigmatic appearance, they rappel through a ceiling vent to take cover.
Unfortunately for them, the hallways are littered with mangled bodies. Before they can scramble out the way they came in, one of the idiot friends falls and takes their only means of escape with him. So what are a band of jumpy college kids to do when they're trapped in weird building soaked in corpses? Explore a little!
Their nosing around uncovers a terrifying secret: a mass-murderer named "The Sleeper" (Mihai Stanescu) has been trapped in a comatose state and experimented on by the government. The Sleeper apparently possesses some psychic power and is able to infest the minds of those who nod off with murderous suggestions.
Okay, kids, good luck with all that.
The most notable aspect of this film was its digital distribution. Incubus saw its premiere on the Internet as a download before its re-release on DVD. And that's about the only thing worth mentioning about it. As far as mediocre, forgettable horror films go, Incubus is as forgettable as...uh, what was I talking about?
Your headlining C-list star is Tara Reid, who again stretches believability as a coherent -- nay, brilliant -- character who, in the midst of an intense situation where people are being killed like crazy, starts rattling off facts about remote sensory perception and psychic experimentation. It's quite the performance and if there was molecule of self-awareness throughout the film, it may have been mildly amusing. But because Incubus takes itself so seriously, Reid's shtick is just distracting.
Not that there was a fantastic movie to distract us from. It's all boilerplate creeping-through-the-dark-hallways claptrap, with the stretches of oppressive dialogue occasionally broken up by cheap jump scenes and gimmicky camera tricks (Look! A flash of someone's eerie face! And a loud musical cue!). The only thing slightly interesting is the killer, but he spends the majority of the film unconscious with tubes sticking out of him. All of his mayhem happens through the other characters as he prompts them to violence, Freddy-Krueger style, through their dreams.
The gore is so-so, with most of the red stuff flowing after the fact; bloody palm-prints, drenched corpses, etc. The action picks up toward the big finale when -- and I don't think this is spoiling anything -- the Sleeper arises from his slumber to wreak havoc with a personal touch. It's a decent climax, but not enough to make up for what was largely a tedious and pointless journey. And that last scene -- the height of horror movie cliché.
Slim pickings for the DVD: the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks sharp and the 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is active, but the extras are MIA.
The Sleeper was onto something with the coma thing; you won't be missing anything with this sub-par horror wannabe, that's for sure.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated