Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment
Vaughn Stein’s bleak and moderately satisfying thriller “Inheritance” would be a forgettable endeavour if not for a committed performance from funny-man Simon Pegg. Pegg plays Morgan Warner, a prisoner who has been held captive in a World War II style bunker underground for 30 plus years. He’s discovered after young, hot-shot, district attorney Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) is told of his whereabouts following the death of her father (Patrick Warburton). For better or worse, she’s inherited her family's darkest secret.
Lauren comes from a family whose name and reputation is more valuable than money: her egomaniacal brother (Chace Crawford) is running for a seat in congress and mother (Connie Nielsen) is a banker. Lauren never saw eye-to-eye with her father, who was upset at her decision to practice criminal law rather than financial law, and his death by heart attack is met with a somber response. That is, until, Morgan turns up in the bunker, practicing social distance long before it was cool today.
Sporting a thick head of white crusty hair, a chain around his neck, and one grizzly beard, Pegg is virtually unrecognizable as the captive prisoner whose existence is one big mystery to Lauren, and whose quest for truth, naturally, leads down a dark and deceptive path. That’s all standard canon in a cheap and disposable thriller of this caliber, but Pegg and Collins build up a decent repertoire and elevate its bargain bin antics.
Pegg is given the meatiest role and you can be certain that Matthew Kennedy’s screenplay throws in a wrench or two about his past, some more predictable than others. But the script never fleshes out his imprisonment to the point of believability and it requires a certain suspension of any sound logic. It doesn’t help that Collins' character, for being a renowned district attorney, can never piece together any obvious clues until it’s already too late and the audience might have this thing pegged (forgive the pun) before the twists begin to pile up.
But the glue to this whole thing is Pegg and his abilities to reach for a darker performance that hints at something underneath. He keeps you guessing even when you know where the action is headed, giving “Inheritance” an edge it would have otherwise missed. You can’t ask for much in a picture on this scale as the narrative devices and cliche elements have been dissected on screen countless times (take a shot each time Lauren is told to “Stop asking for answers”) but it proves that one decently convincing performance can be the switch that lifts the movie off the ground.
INHERITANCE will be available to rent from various digital retailers starting Friday May 22nd.