image

Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: Incarnate - Aaron Eckhart plays scientist-turned exorcist in low-budget supernatural thriller

While entertaining in places, and helped by an enthusiastic cast, Incarnate is short on genuinely scary moments. Director Brad Peyton may have watched The Exorcist a few too many times

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2016, 9:26am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2016, 9:26am

2/5 stars

This low-budget supernatural thriller probably would have gone straight to streaming or DVD if it wasn’t for the, well, boom in low-budget supernatural thrillers in the US. Although Incarnate features nothing that hasn’t been seen before in countless z-grade movies, it’s still entertaining in places, mainly because the cast give it everything they’ve got. Genuine frights, though, are in short supply.

All horrors need a big idea, and Incarnate’s is that the exorcisms which make up the story aren’t done by a priest, but a scientist. Dr Seth Ember (Aaron Eckhart), a grizzled paranormal hunter bedevilled by a past tragedy, has managed to work out the science behind demonic possessions. He’s even developed software that allows him to enter the subconscious minds of victims to expel the spirits.

With his two punky assistants, and the help of a model-like beauty direct from the Vatican (!), Ember tries to drive an arch-demon from the body of a 12-year-old boy. But does the dubious Doc have an ulterior motive?

Everything’s kept grainy and grungy in the Seven mould, and the low budget entails that the thrills come from physical action rather than special effects. But there’s only so much fun that can be had from watching people being pinned to the ceiling and then falling to their deaths on the floor.

Director Brad Peyton would seem to have viewed The Exorcist more times than is good for him, and evidently has a desire to be a new incarnation of horror director John Carpenter, who could turn such stories in to art. Unfortunately, Peyton has some way to go.

Incarnate opens on December 8

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook