Indweller

In her creaky moonlit bed room, a lonely young girl believes she feels the alluring presence of a long-dead former resident.

Genre: Horror

Length: 27:58

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Producer/s : Alwyne Kennedy,

Director/s : Alwyne Kennedy, 

Writer/s : Alwyne Kennedy, 

Actor/s : Scarlett Rayner, Zoe Cunningham

 

Slow burn creepiness

In some ways a conventional haunted house story, Indweller nevertheless pulls off the difficult trick of pulling you in, making you believe the world of Emily and her mother, and slowly building up the creepiness.

Nothing seems wrong, but nothing is quite right either. Common horror tropes appear without being overplayed. We have the isolated friendless teen and her busy unengaged mother. Heating and electrics don’t work properly. Something frightens Emily, but it’s only one of the many spiders in the house. Emily’s old doll, discarded but returning, is a nice touch that could have been made more of, as a doll is something specific to this ghost.

Scarlett Rayner as the unsmiling Emily shows huge potential, carrying the film like a veteran by not doing too much. The character might have been set off more by giving Zoe Cunningham’s distracted mother more emotional range: the pair are too similar, which is realistic but not dramatic. Their story meanders somewhat, and the camera lingers artfully but too long on irrelevant details. It’s a slow-burner, right to the end.

Two thirds of the way through, Emily, bunking school, meets two vampirish teenage goth girls in a graveyard. I felt that more might have been made of them, and the idea of the undead, giving the climax an even greater sense of dread.

Alwyne Kennedy did everything for this film: wrote, produced, directed, filmed, lit and edited. And mostly, it is done with an assured hand, especially the filming. This is all the more remarkable as it’s her first film. The lack of collaborators at the writing and editing stages shows, but otherwise Indweller is a terrific achievement.