Two unlikely worlds collide when a desperate family and three desperate young women cross paths. Throw in the demonic and you have Guillermo Amoedo’s The Inhabitant.
A Mexican senator (Flavio Medina) and his wife Angélica (Gabriela de la Garza) will do anything to see their daughter Tamara (Natasha Cubria) healthy again. In the midst of their attempts to find a cure for her illness, they are robbed by three headstrong sisters. Camila (Vanesa Restrepo), Maria (María Evoli), and Ana (Carla Adell) need the Senator’s money so they can clear up a debt or suffer a painful fate. When the girls discover the frail Tamara restrained in the basement, they are warned by her parents to leave with the money and return the girl to her subterranean prison. The girls refuse, wanting to help Tamara, and soon realize the mistake they made when Tamara shows signs of the demonic.
The Inhabitant has quite a few interesting twists to keep you guessing, as the narrative tackles figurative, as well as literal, demons. Like most possession films, the demon in question goes for the weakest point, and the trio of young women in this film have a cross of familial abuse to bear. I’m not sure if this is a story about abuse survivors or the satanic, but what makes the film work to a degree are performances by Restrepo, Evoli and Adell.
Their heartfelt portrayals incite sympathy and real terror as they remember the cruelty suffered under the veil of piety, and Cubria’s puppet-like movements are sufficiently creepy. That’s a far cry from the completely flat Knock Knock, the overall offensive Green Inferno, or the mind-numbing Aftershock; all which Amoedo had a hand in writing along with horror royalty Eli Roth. I’ll also overlook The Grudge-like noises coming from a shadowy figure in the film since he uses some well-placed, sweeping long shots as the women explore the labyrinthian home of the senator.
If you want to add another notch in your exorcism movie belt, The Inhabitant is a decent watch. Be thankful Amoedo forged out on his own to write and direct a film that combines grief and resilience, crossed with some old-fashioned good versus evil.