“Incarnate” stars Aaron Eckhart as a kind of exorcist who gets rid of demons, but doesn’t even really believe in demons. (More on that shit soon enough) In this movie, Eckhart’s character is tasked in exorcising an 11 year old boy and in doing so, he does it in his own special way, that of going into the victim’s mind and purging the demon out of their subconscious. So basically, this movie is a mix of “Inception” and “The Exorcist”, except that it can only dream of being anywhere as good as those two films.
Right away, this movie is plagued by a very half-assed main character in Eckhart’s exorcist. He apparently specializes in going into people’s minds and successfully expelling legit demons and entities, but the movie puts a lot of emphasis on the fact that he maybe doesn’t even believe that these are actual demonic possessions. This movie tries to explain it all as just cases of bad energy latching itself onto a person that leads to a negative energetic parasite attachment, but it all comes off as really conflicting. Are we suppose to believe it’s just cases of negative energy? Are we suppose to buy that Eckhart doesn’t believe in actual demons despite all of the stuff happening perfectly fits the mold of textbook demonic possession? It’s all just presented in a really piss-poor way.
With Eckhart as an actor, he’s generally very good in most of his roles and he’s certainly trying to bring some life into his confusing character in this movie, but that he’s trying just isn’t enough. He spends most of the movie merely recycling his “I Frankenstein” voice and trying to act all rough and tough for the camera and while it’s not great, it’s still a hell of a lot more watchable than the young child actor, David Mazouz. Most people know him from his bland performance as a young Bruce Wayne the the TV show “Gotham”, but now he gets to be temporarily known as the kid who gives a bland, emotionless performance in that shitty Aaron Eckhart possession movie. I know he’s young and I’m aware that this isn’t the best written movie on the planet, but sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. Mazouz is not good in this movie, and neither is anyone else.
For a demonic possession horror movie, it follows the same tropes that we’ve all seen in a movie like this. There’s cheap jump scares and there’s the usual cliche of the possessed victim having their eyes turn a different color in a cheap dollar store way of saying “Look how evil he is now!” I defy anyone to go into this movie without a checklist of typical possession movie cliches, ranging from the demon crawling all over the walls to the parents of the victim being useless side characters who do nothing, except for the fact that the dad is abusive because…tension?
By the end of this movie, it’s such a blatant rip-off of movies like “The Exorcist” that you have to wonder how the screenplay even got greenlit. No spoilers here, but if you know the ending of “The Exorcist” where a certain character does a certain something to finally get rid of the demon, then you know the climax of this movie. Also, if you’ve seen “Inception” and you were at all enthralled by the subplot involving the main character’s dead wife visiting him in his mind, then you’re in luck because this movie has what is essentially the exact same subplot, only nowhere near as interesting, and every bit as shoehorned as you could get in such a lazy excuse for a movie.
Overall, “Incarnate” was terrible. It’s a cliche-ridden demonic possession story with weak performances from everyone involved, a script that’s unoriginal in the worst possible way, and a poor attempt at trying to make the subject of possession into a more realistic thing that can be explained as just “bad energy”. November was a strong month for 2016, so let’s hope that this movie isn’t what sets the tone for December.