Well, are you? Huh? Are you?
Nah, I’m not, either (yours or mine), so let’s just talk about someone else’s shall we? Better yet, let’s talk about somebody who’s altogether fictitious, so we can all be nice and comfortable.
Specifically, let’s talk about 16-year-old Carson Morris (played by Lara Vosburgh), the subject of director Seth Grossman’s 2014 “found footage” indie-horror Inner Demons, who was apparently once a bright and promising young girl, but fell in with the wrong crowd once her admittedly dysfunctional parents (dad’s a lush, mom’s a religious fanatic) started sending her to a prestigious Catholic prep school that strikes me more as the sort of place you enroll your kid in to get them away from the wrong crowd, but whatever.
Little Carson’s just not the same anymore. She dresses in black and wears “goth” makeup and listens to heavy metal music and, of course, is shooting heroin and popping pills. Because, ya know, all kids who are into “goth” and metal do that, right? But her folks are sick and tired of supposedly “enabling” her, and have signed her up to be on an Intervention-style “reality” TV show. She, of course, thinks she’s just the subject of some sort of “cautionary tale” documentary, but in due course they’re gonna lower the boom on her, sit her down with a shrink, and ship her off to a rehab center. That’s how these things go.
There’s just one little wrinkle — Carson claims she’s possessed by a demon and that she’s turned to drugs to dull the constant pain that comes with having an evil otherworldly entity living inside her body and mind. I swear, teenagers today say the craziest things.
Before we go any further here — and there’s really not much further to go — I’ll just come right out and admit it : I fell for the old Netflix “we’ve just added a new movie you might be interested in” email again, and despite the fact that I pretty much always get burned by these things, I gave Inner Demons (which is apparently also available on Blu-ray and DVD from MPI Home Video) a go. The idea of drugging yourself into a stupor in order to “beat” possession sounded like a nifty new wrinkle to me, but rest assured, there’s absolutely nothing on offer here you haven’t seen somewhere else at least a dozen times, and the law of diminishing returns is definitely in full effect in screenwriter Glenn Gers’ heavily-derivative, supremely un-involving script.
By and large the no-name cast (literally the only actor I recognized was perennial “D-lister” Sewell Whitney, who plays Carson’s pastor — which is weird, since the story seems to imply that she’s Catholic, and they’ve got priests) manages as well as they can with some pretty weak material, but when your primary visual cue that something is amiss is the tired old “camera going fuzzy when the evil gets to close to it” thing, well, not even Laurence Olivier can do much with that.
Still, as “been there, done that” as the film’s opening 2/3 are, they’re positively Oscar-caliber compared to the laughably absurd third act, when Carson flubs out of rehab and the wheels come off. One of the show’s camera guys, Steve (Christopher Parker) has taken a shine to the troubled young teen (despite the fact that she’s jail bait), and when he confirms — via tactics that are both unethical and flat-out illegal — that all her “demonic possession” talk is the real deal, he goes over to her house in the middle of the night, TV producers in tow, and performs an off-the-cuff exorcism, despite having no training in the field and only one store-bought “occult” textbook that he hasn’t even read yet to guide him through the process. Yeah, that oughtta work out great.
Do you already know how this thing is gonna end? Because you really should.
And, of course, you’ll be exactly right. Inner Demons is a movie that has no clue how to deviate from its by-the-numbers formula, and honestly can’t even get that much right. It has only one real “twist” on offer, it happens at the very last second, and you’ll see it coming from 666 miles away. Better to just turn around and head in the other direction right now.