INCARNATE (2016) is a new horror movie starring Aaron Eckhart, and it’s yet another horror flick about a demon haunting a child.
Blah blah blah.
INCARNATE tells the story of Dr. Seth Ember (Aaron Eckhart) who possesses the ability to enter people’s dreams, and in their dream world he’s able to help these people escape from the demons that possess them. In the real world, he’s in a wheelchair, the result of a catastrophic car accident which killed his wife and young son and left him paralyzed. That accident was caused by a demon named Maggie, and so when Seth goes into other people’s dreams, he’s not only trying to save them, he’s also looking for Maggie so he can destroy her once and for all.
Which seriously doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Are the dreams of all these people connected, so that the dream world is a real place where all the demons hang out and that’s why Seth believes he’s going to find Maggie there? Otherwise, why would Maggie be in the dreams of people who are being haunted by other demons?
Or perhaps Maggie just gets around a lot and haunts a whole lot of people? If not, what are the odds he’s going to find her again? And if he’s on a quest to search the globe for Maggie, that’s something that’s not made clear in the film.
What we do see in the film is that Seth works with two young assistants, and they go around helping various people. The latest is a young boy, and that’s what the entire movie is about. Saving the boy and finding and destroying Maggie.
I’ll get right to the point : this movie bored me to tears, on so many levels.
As directed by Brad Peyton, it’s not scary, it’s not stylish, it’s not suspenseful. The screenplay by Ronnie Christensen isn’t any better. The plot is a snooze, and the characters aren’t developed at all. They don’t even attempt any character development in this movie. We know nothing about the mom and son who Seth is helping, nothing about his assistants, and we know very little about Seth.
In the lead role as Dr. Seth Ember, Aaron Eckhart is okay, but like the rest of the movie, he’s pretty boring. Eckhart is a good actor who’s made a lot of good movies, but he’s also made some clinkers. This is one of the worst. I thought this film was even worse than I, FRANKENSTEIN (2014), and that film was pretty bad.
The possessed boy is played by David Mazouz, and he’s probably the least interesting possessed child I’ve ever seen in a movie. We know so little about him— let’s put it this way, he’s possessed within the first few minutes of the film.
That’s another problem I had with this movie. It really struggles to tell a story. The pacing doesn’t work, there are long scenes where nothing happens, and when stuff does happen it’s sloppily handled.
Emjay Anthony, who was very enjoyable in CHEF (2014), is wasted here, appearing only in flashbacks as Seth’s deceased son.
Catalina Sandino Moreno plays a woman working for the Vatican who recruits Seth for his latest case. It’s a role that was originally offered to Rosario Dawson. She’s lucky she turned it down.
The demon Maggie was played by Mark Steger, who among other things played the Monster in STRANGER THINGS earlier this year.
Actually some of the supporting characters fare better here. I thought Matt Nable did a good job as the boy’s abusive father Dan. And Keir O’Donnell and Breanne Hill who played Seth’s young assistants weren’t half bad either. Hill, by the way, is originally from New Hampshire and later attended Boston University, which is both my alma mater and where my sons are attending college. Yup, that’s about as interesting as things get with this movie.
INCARNATE bored me throughout, so unless you’re a fan of dull movies, you might want to skip this one.