This isn’t a movie, it’s a dare
When her powerful banker father dies, Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins: Tolkien) loses any hope of reconciling with him. Instead of furthering the family dynasty, Lauren chose to become the district attorney of New York City; not shabby for a woman who’s barely 30, but not as prestigious as the litigation career her father pushed for. Her rebellion cost her dearly, with her politician brother receiving the lion’s share of her father’s estate.
Lauren, however, never wanted her father’s money. She simply wanted to feel connected to him, to know him better than she felt she did. Be careful what you wish for.
After the funeral, Lauren is handed an envelope containing a key and a short video from her father. The key unlocks a family secret that must remain buried. Though she and her father argued, Lauren is the only person he can trust with the knowledge.
It turns out, for 30 years, Lauren’s father has kept a man chained in a bunker on their property. The man, Morgan (Simon Pegg: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance), claims he is an innocent victim of her father’s quest for status and power. Morgan begins to tell Lauren ugly truths about her father, secrets, and lies that could ruin her brother’s career and break her mother’s heart. Lauren must decide if she’s willing to compromise her moral code so that she can spare her family.
Can she trust Morgan? And would releasing him destroy her family?
Every now and then, when you review movies you see one so bad that you need a witness to verify what exactly you’re seeing. Someone to tell you that the film you’ve watched isn’t some sort of fever dream, but is, in fact, utter trash. Such is the case with Inheritance, a movie so poorly executed in every capacity that I enlisted Mr. Moviegoer to suffer through it with me to confirm what I was seeing. I would not watch it again even if I stood to inherit the fortune the Monroes are obsessed with.
Director Vaughn Stein (Terminal) captures the lush mansions and smart tailoring intrinsic to the upper echelons but fails to craft any tension. Even in the shadowy bunker, the film manages to take the intrigue out of each scene. There are odd montages that are supposed to showcase Lauren’s state of mind, but they’re merely shots of Collins yelling in different rooms of the house. Stein is hampered by a truly dismal debut script from Matthew Kennedy that features predictable twists, wildly lucky coincidences, and laughable dialogue. The motivations of every character make no sense, plot lines are dropped, and the key mystery is so bizarre it beggars belief. It’s a mess from beginning to end.
Other problems with the film are the leading performances. Collins, who has managed charming performances in a few romantic comedies is utterly lost in this inane thriller. Collins’ Lauren is supposed to be the district attorney of New York, tough as nails and utterly ruthless when faced with a problem. So it’s confusing when she falls to pieces constantly throughout the film. Lauren has two moods: blank and hysteria. If she’s not screaming weirdly into the abyss, she’s pouting at Pegg like a small child. It’s amazing she had the ability to get any convictions in the courtroom.
While Collins is out of her depth, Pegg is on a whole other planet. Chewing through the scenery like a colony of termites, Pegg offers up a Hannibal Lecter impression that would be more fitting for a Family Guy cutaway gag than a feature film. The bulk of his dialogue is Pegg reciting a Key lime pie recipe from memory. It is supposed to speak to Morgan’s determined, manic mind, but comes across as a man memorizing his shopping list. It’s an embarrassing performance from an actor capable of excellent work.
Though the film is a failure on almost every level, it did have one bright point: it fell under two hours. If you’re looking for a zippy thriller to watch, consider screening the immeasurably better Knives Out! which is available for free and will not leave you with a migraine.
This movie is available to rent on Amazon Prime, but burning your $5 rental fee will provide you with more entertainment.
Horrendous Thriller * NR * 111 mins.