The Incarnation review

The Incarnation - Review

★★★☆☆

Who hasn’t done something incredibly stupid once while drunk? Maybe you threw up in a taxi. Maybe you threw a punch at a bouncer. Maybe you summoned a demon. It happens.

So when new homeowner Brad (Taye Diggs) makes that last mistake you can hardly blame him; besides, he actually has his reasons – it’s not just the usual homeowner’s stress, but the lack of funding for his, apparently, innovative idea to combine a brewery and a pub into one, which is imaginatively named Brewpub. With his financial situation precarious and only getting worse, he turns, naturally, to demonic help. Well, he’d had like, three beers at the time, so come on.

His wife Jess (Jessica Uberuaga) is naturally not too pleased with the situation, but between her desire to start a family and her relief at the apparent salvation from financial Hell that Brad has found, she soon enough goes along with things too. But wouldn’t you know it, when you make bargains with demons there turns out to be a price. The couple had already been sharing their digs with some kind of phantom, but he’d been a fairly harmless fellow. That changes, of course, but by the end there are consequences even graver.

The Incarnation turns out to be a pretty nice three-hander; while Taye Diggs is not well-suited to his rôle here, and Uberuaga makes little impression – other than in a scene in which she dances in a sundress while cooking French toast – Michael Madsen makes a great, gruff presence as landlord Peter, apparently still decked out as Bud from Kill Bill and sporting a voice so gravelly you’d swear he’s channelling Mule Variations Tom Waits. Perhaps a tribute album is in the works. Either way, he elevates the film; after a few awkward early scenes, he just gets better and better the more the narrative unfurls.

Co-written by director Isaac Walsh, the particular narrative showcased here isn’t the most original, nor is the script even free of the odd moment of unintentional comedy. But Walsh makes the most of a great location – too bad its unique architecture isn’t matched by more interesting furnishings – and some shots are brilliantly framed.

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