Over the last forty-plus years, filmmakers have tried to capture the essence of classics like Rosemary’s Baby with twisted tales of demons spreading their seed upon unknowing females using mind tricks and deception. Inkubus, written by Carl Dupre’ and directed by Glenn Ciano, tries to do just this.
With an opening reminiscent of 1974’s It’s Alive, the film follows the backstory of the demon just born. The baby’s daddy, Detective Tom Caretti – aka Joey Fatone of NSYNC – just so happens to be locked up in a loony bin due to the psychological trauma from the birth. Fatone’s delivery (whilst wearing a straight jacket) is actually quite convincing. Unfortunately, this could be due to his own disbelief that he was once on top of the world…and now he’s in this movie. He tells the story of how this baby came into the world – starting with the day the demon Inkubus walked into the police station with a severed head in his hands.
Robert Englund stars as the film’s namesake, who every few years seeks out a female host to impregnate so he can live on. For some reason, though, he has to go on a killing spree at the same time and mindf*** everyone. Englund acts the hell out of the role in his own way with delivering disturbing lines calmly, and adding sarcasm and humor at the right moments.
Perhaps the real reason Inkubus wants to get creative with his kills is because he really wants William Forsythe to show up, who plays Detective Gil Diamante, the now retired police chief that let Inkubus get away the last time he was up to shenanigans. The cast is rounded out with Jonathan Silverman (Weekend At Bernie’s) as the booking cop who gets wrapped up in a silly little trick Inkubus plays and Michelle Ray Smith as Officer Cole – the tomboy/tough girl cop/ Fatone’s love interest. There is also a plethora of cliché minor characters from tough guys to wise cracking rookies to a possessed psychologist – pretty much anything else that a script needs to appear substantial. Forsythe, on the contrary, stands out from the supporting cast. He seems depressed in the role, as if he knew in filming that somehow the story would get convoluted in the editing room, which seems like the case here.
The opening sequence alone seems like an afterthought with the grotesque Alien homage of the demon baby’s birth. If the story had cut out this and Fatone’s straight jacket performance, we would be left with the police station setting. Without the overabundance of hallucination scenes and gore, it could’ve feasibly made a nice little piece. However, as is, it runs just under 80 minutes. Though short, Inkubus still drags through its confusing tale and left this viewer more bended than the, as already stated, overuse of one of Inkubus’s Houdini tricks. With all of the hocus-pocus and special effects, the key point of the story – the idea that Inkubus has been around since the beginning of time – and is responsible for the downfall of man – is lost.
Despite the structural downfalls, the films’ effects (be them abused) and overall quality are actual very nice. There appears to be a greenish gray filter over the entire movie which enhances the claustrophobic nature of the tiny police station it is capsuled in. The screenplay is apparently based on a short story by Ciano. One has to wonder if the true tale of Inkubus is short and sweet versus what is given. For it being Ciano’s directorial debut, he should be proud of the quality, even if the storyline could have used more (or maybe a lot less) work in the editing room.