Inkubus (2012)

Robert Englund is superb in Inkubus. This is not a cameo. This is not a ham-stuffed, “line – your – pockets – with – dollars” horrible disappointment like Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer was or the upcoming Strippers vs. Werewolves will undoubtedly be. This is Robert Englund at his finest and well worth watching because of it.

In a small American police station, the unassuming skeleton crew question of young man who’s apparently just decapitated his girlfriend (whilst fucking her – real nice). A bit weird, but otherwise a routine night. Then a demon walks in holding a severed head. Yes, a demon. Then everything starts to go horribly, horribly wrong.

This particular demon is Inkubus (Robert Englund), an ancient monster who has cut swathes through humanity since the Middle Ages. Strangely he agrees to be incarcerated as long as they fetch him retired police detective Gil Diamante (William Forsythe), a man who has a past with the demonic killer. But they’re all pawns in Inkubus’s diabolical game, and this game is one full of blood, guts, madness and death. And a bit more madness.

Inkubus is great. It has some serious issues but, for a film contained to almost one location and a smattering of characters, it is surprisingly compelling. The main draw from many genre fans will be Robert Englund and William Forsythe and they certainly don’t disappoint – these veterans of gore shine throughout.

Forsythe is excellent as the troubled Gil Diamante, truly believable as a mind-cracked ex-detective seeped in past injustices and hidden pain. Forsythe is a hugely underrated actor and he proves his expertise in another complex role. A quality performance.

The demon Inkubus is Englund unleashed. In other films and cameo roles it feels he’s been hired to give a cheeky smile or a knowing nod, a reference to Freddy Kruger or simply to stand there and drag audiences towards the film like a giant horror-fan magnet. In Inkubus he is the character – incredibly dangerous, sly, funny, clearly brilliant and utterly evil. He is superb throughout. Watch this film for his performance, it is one of his best.

Yet it’s not just Englund and Forsythe that makes Inkubus work – the inclusion of stars does not automatically make a film awesome (I’m looking at you, Zombie Strippers). Writer / director Glenn Ciano clearly has talent, delving into character (before killing them brutally), ratcheting up tension and creating solid pace throughout. His focus on Inkubus’s use of madness and magic is what makes this stand out – it’s not just another kill-crazy chainsaw fest of samey deaths, each assault is different and brutally compelling. Ciano’s use of Englund is also excellent and you really feel the energy on the screen – fun, crazed and incredibly dangerous – and everyone involved seems to be 100% behind this.

Unfortunately Inkubus does suffer from some confused editing, a meandering mid-section and an awful flash-back / flash-forward framing device that simply does not work. These are major issues, but forgivable considering how good the majority of the film is.

Conclusion? Seek Inkubus out. Watch it for William Forsythe’s sharp acting and Robert Englund’s playfully insane turn as the title role. Watch it for the story and the direction and the brutal, blood splattering moments. Watch Inkubus.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

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