Inheritance contains a doozy of a plotline; a mysterious outsider (Simon Pegg) is chained up in a bunker by the family patriarch (Patrick Warburton). When said family man dies, he leaves the “caretaking” responsibility to his lawyer daughter (Lily Collins). With an outrageous premise, this movie could be a must see thriller or an off the rails experience.
Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) grew up with a super rich family. We don’t know too much about banker dad Archer (Patrick Warburton) except that he dies within the first several minutes of Inheritance. Brother William (Chace Crawford) is a charismatic politician who may be corrupt, and mom Catherine (Connie Nielsen) is the family’s anchor.
Archer’s passing leads to the reading of his will. William gets $20 million, mom gets a sizable chunk of her husband’s assets, and Lauren lands a seemingly paltry $1 million and a flash drive! Lauren uses her law degree and ambition to help the underdogs of society, and being a public defender has gone against her father’s wishes (he presumably wanted his daughter to represent the family’s best interests).
The flash drive holds a quick video with dear old dad telling Lauren that since she’s the oldest child, she has been tasked with a huge responsibility. It’s a cryptic and rather alarming message (it’s one of those, “if you see this video that means I’m dead” affairs), and Lauren’s fears are confirmed. Her father’s key opens an underground bunker that houses Morgan Warner (Simon Pegg).
I’ve spent most of this review detailing the opening act because to go any further would spoil the rest of the storyline. Morgan, chained to a wall with barely room to walk, is understandably disheveled and gaunt. He claims to know the family’s most intimate details, and he begs Lauren to release him, claiming her dad had the vilest of intentions for his imprisonment. There may be a body buried deep in the forest, and if he leads her to the location, maybe his freedom will literally see the light of day (after getting to know Morgan, your relationship to key lime pie may be forever changed!)
Penned by Matthew Kennedy, Inheritance has an enough interesting elements to keep one guessing all throughout the narrative, and excellent work from Collins and Pegg elevate the film from your standard potboiler. Filmmaker Vaughn Stein could have infused Inheritance with a plethora of tongue-in-cheek or downright campy moments, but he keeps the narrative on rather solid ground.
To check out more movies that were released this month, check out our latest episode of CinemAddicts:
I actually wanted a bit more crazy with Inheritance, and even with all its evil and mayhem, a bit of a darker climax would have given this feature a knockout punch. Lauren has been going against her family’s wishes for most of her life, and it’s an interesting twist to see her cleaning up their mess and possibly compromising her principles. That aspect should have been explored to the fullest, but ultimately the feature opts for a more standard route to its explosive climax.
That said, Inheritance is an engrossing film to watch, as the feature’s heart and soul lies in the complex interplay between Collins and Pegg. Both make excellent scene partners in this cat and mouse game, leaving the rest of the ensemble to play a distant second fiddle. Although the Collins/Peggs pairing will no doubt draw comparisons to The Silence of the Lambs, they actually have more screen time together than Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.
The tension between the actors are palpable, and Pegg, who also delivered inspired work recently in the indie drama Lost Transmissions, brings a refreshing amount of complexity to his role. Collins may be 31 but she still looks like a teenager. Her youthful look, however, does not strain her credibility as a hard nosed attorney.
Even with my minor complaint about the film’s subdued (but visually memorable) climactic moment, Inheritance succeeds as a first rate thriller that will leave you guessing up to its final act (fyi, my hunch was absolutely wrong!). It’s ultimately a guilty pleasure of a movie, but buoyed by crafty work from Pegg and laser focused acting from Collins, Inheritance is right on the money.
Inheritance is now available on Digital and On Demand.