(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June. She’s trying to get it all done by the end of July 11th! Will she make it!? Keep visiting the site to find out!)
The 30th film on my DVR was broadcast on the Lifetime Movie Network on June 5th. It was aired under the title The Inherited but, according to the imdb, it was originally called Stranger In The House. I imagine that Lifetime changed the title in order to keep viewers from confusing it with a previous Lifetime film that happened to have the same title.
Anyway, regardless of the title, this is a very confusing movie. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is just one of those films where, in order to truly understand what’s happening, you have to be willing to give the film some thought. It’s a film that raises many questions but doesn’t always supply easy answers. The answers are there but you have to be willing to look for them.
Unfortunately, because this film demands a certain amount of focus on the part of the audience, commercial television is probably the worst place for it to show up. When the action stops every fifteen minutes for a 3-minute block of commercials, it makes it a little bit difficult to remember what’s happened from one scene to another.
Stranger In The House/The Inherited tells the story of Eve (Jenn Liu) and Tom (Nathan Darrow). Eve and Tom has just gotten married. Eve lost her parents when she was younger and — well, to be honest, I’m not sure why the film opens with Eve’s parents dying. (Later, we find out that Tom’s parents also died when he was young. Maybe it’s all connected, maybe it isn’t. I honestly don’t know.) Tom is a widower. His first wife died but, in her will, she left Tom her family’s home on the condition that Tom never sell the house.
As soon as Tom and Eve move into the house, strange things start to happen. Eve thinks that she hears strange noises and she’s upset to discover that Tom has secrets that he hasn’t told her about. When his former sister-in-law, Wendy (Tammy Blanchard), comes over for dinner, she and Tom get into a huge argument that ends when Wendy’s necklace suddenly tightly wraps around her neck. Eve thinks there is something terrible in the house but Tom continually says that she’s imagining things. Fortunately, the housekeeper (Annabella Sciorra) believes Eve and even shares the fact that Tom cooked all of his first wife’s meals before she mysteriously fell ill and died. Suddenly, Tom’s cooking for Eve…
Soon, Eve doesn’t know who she can trust. Is the house haunted or is she going crazy? Is Tom trying to murder her or is Eve just going crazy? Is the housekeeper Eve’s friend or is Eve just going crazy? Could the film be any more of a Rebecca rip-off or is Eve just crazy? Is this film Gaslight or is it The Haunting?
I had to watch the ending a few times before I could tell you for sure. The Inherited is not always an easy film to follow. It’s directed in a deliberately dream-like manner, which leads to some memorably surreal scenes but which can also be frustrating when you’re trying to figure out what the Hell’s going on. Personally, I liked The Inherited because it had a lot of atmosphere, some good acting, and a lot of twists and turns. But it’s definitely not a film for everyone. You have to be willing to accept the fact that the movie is never going to make much sense.
On final note, Jenn Lui not only wrote this film but she also gave herself the lead role. That was a smart decision because the script is definitely written to her strengths as a performer. She gives a great performance, one that helps to hold this somewhat uneven film together.