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Review: Tight Performances and an Intriguing Premise Make "Inheritance" a Worthy Cinematic Experience

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday May 22, 2020

Playing like one of those "old fashioned" thrillers from the '80s and early '90s, "Inheritance" keeps you guessing with tight performances and an intriguing premise.

First-time writer Matthew Kennedy and director Vaugh Stein ("Terminal") have crafted a handsome thriller that harks back to the political and domestic thrillers that used to be the mainstay of American cinema. Starring Lily Collins ("Mirror Mirror") as Lauren Monroe, a do-good lawyer with a questionable family, and Simon Pegg ("Shaun of the Dead") as the mysterious "inheritance," there is certainly a lot of intrigue throughout the tightly wound story.

When millionaire Archer Monroe (Patrick Warburton) dies mysteriously, he leaves his estate and his company to his wife Catherine (Connie Nielsen), fifty million dollars to his Senate seat-chasing son William (Chase Crawford), and, to his eldest Lauren, he leaves a measly one million dollars and an envelope she is given privately.

In this envelope is a key and directions to a secret location she is sworn not to tell anyone about. After trudging through the family estate, she comes upon a trap door in the ground that reveals a secret bunker. And within that bunker is the super awesome thing daddy left her: A chained man who has clearly been trapped underground for decades.

But who is he, and why is he there?

These are the questions Lauren must face, and do so carefully. Should she immediately report her find to the authorities? Find out who the guy is, and if he deserves to be locked up? And what will he reveal to her about her family that, perhaps, she might not want to know? These are questions I can't answer here as to not spoil any surprises, but while some things are expected, they play out in unexpected ways.

Collins is proving to be a competent actress, slowly morphing out of younger roles and taking her place at the adult table. She navigates the various stages of her character's anger and confusion, and still manages to instill some empathy into her.

Pegg is the find here. Not that we don't know what he can do, and not that he hasn't played serous roles before, but this one is a delicate tightrope of creepy, crazy, and earnest. You don't truly know what is up with him, and you find your allegiance with him shifting back and forth as more and more is revealed. If we don't get a lot of new films this year and the Academy decides to keep their show going, Pegg could certainly be up for an Oscar nomination.

Stein makes a good-looking film and juggles all of the pieces admirably. It might not stay with you for the rest of your life, but it's certainly an entertaining way to pass the hours in quarantine. It's also nice to see deftly made psychological thrillers still getting their day in the sun.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

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