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Starring Tara Reid, Mihai Stanescu, Alice O'Connell, Akemnji Ndifernyan, Monica Dean, Christian Brassington, Russell Carter
Directed by Anya Camilleri
Incubus is a movie that I had never heard of prior to seeing it on the video store new release shelf this past week. Looking the film up on IMDB beforehand, imagine my surprise to see a handful of user comments all talking about what a good, scary flick it was. My suspicions were then aroused when I clicked on the user names of the commentators and saw that these people, all of whom posted their comments within days of one another, had apparently registered with IMDB for the express purpose of talking up what a great film Incubus was. Two of those singing the films praises had also left high praise for another film, claiming the Black Christmas remake to be a really good movie. That set off alarm bells. I still decided to take my chances and hope the positive reviews were accurate and that this would turn out to be a surprise gem that had flown in under the radar.
Incubus opens with a group of six generic college age friends collecting themselves after having flipped their car over while avoiding a fallen tree in the road. Because this happened in the middle of nowhere - nowhere being Bitterroot Mountains, Montana - there's no one else around for miles and they can't get a phone signal through to call for assistance. Time to go hiking through the woods where they'll find one of those seemingly abandoned research facilities that corporations and government agencies are always hiding out in the middle of nowhere. They proceed to do what anyone would do in their situation, assuming you're the type that sees no problem with breaking an entering. And when I say breaking and entering I mean literally breaking through a fence, climbing up onto the roof, and ratcheting open an entrance way in the ceiling using a claw hammer.
Tara Reid (who looks noticeably older than her peers) goes in first and quickly discovers some still fresh corpses in lab coats. They all soon find that getting into the place by dropping down through the ceiling was a lot easier than getting out of the facility that is in complete lockdown mode. Then they come up the Magneto-quality chamber housing an unconscious, veiny-skinned, bald guy in his underwear strapped into a chair with intravenous tubes plugged into him. One in the group almost instantly recognizes the sleeping man in the chair as a serial killer that had supposedly been executed a decade earlier. Then one of them is killed by a psychotic lab worker and Tara Reid vows to piece together the truth behind the experiments being conducted on the comatose man in the chair while others continue to look for a way out.
If you thought Tara Reid: Anthropologist was laughable in Alone in the Dark (even Uwe Boll knew she couldn't act her way out of a pre-torn paper bag) then prepare yourselves for Tara Reid: Medical Student Extraordinaire. The makers of Incubus have actually cast Tara Reid in the role of the smartest character in the movie.
Here's the deal with the killer primarily referred to as "The Sleeper." We get an extraneous flashback scene showing the killer as a kid being tormented by his evil mother who used to do bad things to his tongue. He quickly became psychopathic; part of his shtick involved biting his tongue off when he was seven-years old. He would go on to do time in prison before finally ending up a guinea pig in these experiments based around his ability to leave his own body. Astral projection and remote viewing get discussed frequently. He's been asleep in this chair for years, but thanks to his powers he can see and hear through this eye-shaped tattoo/scar thingy on his forehead. But his main ability is invading others minds when they fall asleep, taking over their mind and making them go all psycho (and bite off their own tongues).
An Incubus is a demon that has sex with women in their dreams. The film tries to justify its title by tossing in a dream sequence near the end where the Sleeper attempts to have his way sexually with a fully clothed Tara Reid who proves incapable of even faking sexual moans convincingly. You'd think with this woman's real-life party whore reputation this would be the one aspect of performing that she'd be Oscar caliber at. On the plus side, no one in the cast is particularly good so her badness never really sticks out.
It's a pity that this movie turned out the way it did because there is an intriguing concept at the core of Incubus with this Sleeper character. Sadly, it all gets squandered by a poorly executed horror flick that wastes entirely too much time explaining everything instead of actually doing anything. Well, anything other than having characters slowly walking around either looking for a way out of the facility they're trapped in or looking for other members of their group that have gone missing. The first hour of the movie is nearly over and youll realize that more time will have been spent discussing what the Sleeper might be capable of doing than actually having the Sleeper do anything. Most of the movie he just sits in his chair asleep using his remote viewing powers to eavesdrop on their conversations about him. Incubus ends up feeling like something that would have been better off as an abridged Masters of Horror episode than a feature length motion picture.
The finale will have the Sleeper finally awake and stalking Tara Reid, all the while talking and singing, amazing accomplishments for a person that DOESN'T HAVE A TONGUE!
The only negative IMDB user comments I came across was from someone who couldn't believe that there were others on IMDB actually declaring what a good scary flick Incubus was. That person clearly saw the same movie I did.
1 1/2 STARS