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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Review: Infernum

Director: Dutch Marich
Screenplay: Dutch Marich
Year: 2019

First things first: don’t let the poster of this movie fool you. Although the poster suggests this is a ghost or a haunted train movie, it is nothing close to that. Instead, “Infernum” is a psychological thriller that uses atmosphere, claustrophobia, and sound to create a tense and unnerving ambient in which ghosts don’t make an appearance.

When she was still a child, Camille’s parents took her on a camping trip to a forest where they heard a strange sound and disappeared while investigating its origin. 20 years later, Camille is still researching this phenomenon with hopes of finding her parents and recently videos have surfaced of people documenting a similar sound to that the one she heard with her parents. After seeing one of these videos, she decides to go along with a friend to the place where the video was recorded to investigate its origin.

Camille (Suziey Block; “Wonder Valley”) lives obsessed with knowing the cause of this sound that made her parents disappear and we see that she has devoted a good part of her life to studying this phenomenon even through her graduate studies. Her obsession with the topic leads her to put her relationship with her boyfriend Hunter (Michael Barbuto; “Happy Camp”) at risk by continuously forgetting compromises and important dates and putting more attention into everything related to the mysterious happening. Once some videos surface on the internet documenting the same sound she heard as a child, all her attention pours over investigating it with James (Clinton Roper Elledge; “The Ride”), her friend and accomplice in this research.

As expected by the nature of the plot, the interpersonal relationships between the main trio play an important role in the development. The decay of the relationship between Camille and Hunter is palpable, as well as Hunter’s discomfort by the constant presence of James near his girlfriend. A great deal of the credit to make this possible goes to the cast and their performances, taking the viewer deep into the dynamics of their relationships as well as backing up the atmosphere created with the audiovisuals.

The slow development of the script of also director Dutch Marich (“Hunting”) depends on the work of the actors as well as in the atmosphere, and they are both well done. The supernatural element that takes place in the train, where the second half of the movie is developed and where the sense of time and space is lost, makes the most out of the limitations presented by the adjusted budget, with the use of light and the lack of it to create a feeling of claustrophobia. The sound design is another of its virtues, something similar to what was recently shown in “Resonance”, using it in a creative way to create unnerving sounds.

“Infernum” develops its plot based on the principle of showing and not telling, even in the auditive part, and that uses it to create a disturbing atmosphere, necessary for the story to have the desired impact. Its budget limitations are not translated to the screen and rather uses it to develop other virtues, as the aforementioned atmosphere and the acting. Only a note of caution: the plot is a slow burn, something that some viewers expecting something more dynamic based on the poster can resent, but if you know what to expect from it, it is a good psychological thriller and sensorial manipulation movie.

"Infernum" is distributed by Indican Pictures and is available on DVD and digital platforms. For more information visit their webpage.

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