In Memorium (2005)

inmemorium-posterDirector Amanda Gusack creates a film very much in the vein of “Blair Witch Project”, and from the get go there’s this sense of pure dread and impending doom that’s presented with a stark gray ambiance. The character Dennis is dying from terminal bone cancer that is eating away at his body. He and his wife (the gorgeous Johanna Watts) move into a new home they then rig with various cameras to film every one of his developments and movements to chronicle and possibly create as a documentary for his legacy and his wife to bank off of. But this documenting is interrupted with something ever more sinister.

The film is comprised of camera shots as if the director had rigged them, and the film is played out in a manner in which it’s a film within a film. Our director actually intends to record his death, yet captures something else, and our actual story begins. The chemistry with McDowell and Watts is believable, and their constant bickering as a husband and wife and the little chats they have are engrossing. Their characters are wonderfully drawn out for the story, and the performances behind the two principles kept me drawn into the build-up to the events that occur.

She’s difficult, he’s insistent, she wants him to have chemo, he refuses because he wants to be with her in his last days, Gusak explores their relationship with enough nuance to let us relate to them and watch this foundation slow deteriorate. Only a few days in their home, Dennis’ symptoms increase dramatically and his skin and health deteriorate at dramatic levels. One day while checking the footage, Dennis spots something on film and suddenly the shit hits the fan. “In Memorium” is an utterly creepy simplistic bit of horror that never really just gives us ghosts and trick photography, but instead focuses on our characters, and delves into back stories, and our demons that come back whether we like it or not.

The house itself becomes a character with the entity behind the doors becoming more aggressive as the film develops, and when the plot twist arrives, you won’t see it coming. “In Memorium” is a wonderful horror entry, and from the slow build-up to the gory frantic climax, this will please even the most cynical horror lover. I’m not one to usually give cheesy analogous one-liners, but “In Memorium” is a surefire mixture of “The Shining” and “Blair Witch Project”. Director Gusack has a handle on characterization, pacing, and story and takes a tired concept adding a wonderful air of originality, unease, and suspense. “In Memorium” is an intense simplistic piece of the horror genre.