Inside Inner Demon

By Kate Macdonald

How many times have you watched a horror movie and become frustrated with the ridiculous situations? Characters falling inexplicably, phones conveniently not working at crucial moments and jump scares galore. At times this completely ruins the horror experience and has you laughing rather than fearing. Ursula Dabrowsky’s Inner Demon (2014) is a refreshing entry into the genre, taking a typical horror concept and keeping you on your toes.

Inner Demon follows a young woman, Sam, who is fighting for her life after she is abducted by a serial killer couple. Dabrowsky’s screenplay is a true strength of the film, breathing new life into a premise that’s not uncommon within the genre. Where other horrors succumb to tired clichés of clumsy woman in need of rescue for the convenience of the story, Inner Demon doesn’t compromise the protagonist’s strength in order to move the story along.

Sarah Jeavons leads the film as Sam, giving a subtle but compelling performance of a girl fighting for her life. Jeavons excels beyond the typical horror victim, portraying a smart character that can think quick on her feet and has you rooting for her survival. There isn’t much depth to the character, but this allows the viewer to see themselves in her place. Kerry Ann Reid’s and Andreas Sobik’s performances as the couple adds another eerie element to the film, feeling like real people posing a real threat rather than over sensationalised villains so often seen in horrors like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. 

The film’s setting also adds to the idea that this could happen in real life, particularly with its opening moments of talkback radio on a dark highway. There is just something about the Australian landscape that truly lends itself to horror. Films like Wolf Creek (2005), Long Weekend (1978) and Wake in Fright (1971) have famously made moviegoers fear the unknown of Australia with their menacing depictions of the outback and with Inner Demon’s isolated setting, you’re immediately put on edge.

For all its elements of realism, the rug is really pulled out from under you as supernatural occurrences enter the narrative. Though it’s definitely a curveball, the melding of slasher and supernatural provides a climax that is intriguing to say the least but does leave you wanting a little more.

Though Inner Demon may falter a little, it’s a welcomed and refreshing effort among an onslaught of cliché slashers and meaningless remakes that consume the horror.

Inner Demon screens at MWFF’s Late Night Screaming at Palace Kino Cinemas, Friday 22nd February, 10:30pm. Get your tickets here!

Whitney Monaghan