The most enjoyable aspect of today’s indie-streaming films (they’d be direct-to-video back in the analog days of VHS and DVD) and indie distributor shingles like Uncork’d Entertainment is that U.S. audiences are treated with European films — this one from the Ukraine (in English) — that we would otherwise not see on U.S. theater screens and most likely miss on the shelves of our local, back-in-the-day Blockbuster Video.
As with most indie streamers, the budget on this haunted house horror is tight: $500,000. Unlike most indie streamers, the creative team behind it is not of the usual, inexperienced, first-timer variety not adept with the Canon Reds — or shooting on iPhones. As a producer, Chad Barager brought us The Woods (2013), Dark Harvest (2016), and Bitter Harvest (2017); here, Barager makes his feature film writing and directing debut. His co-director and writer, Kevin Speckmaier, has worked as an assistant director on TV’s syndicated Highlander (loved it), USA Network’s The Dead Zone (again, plus Anthony Micheal Hall is great in it), and numerous Lifetime and Hallmark movies (a couple of those cherished B&S About Movies X-Mas flicks). The Inheritance also serves as his feature film debut in the writing and directing chairs.
Latvian-born Natalia Ryumina is a multilingual British actress (including Latvian, Russian, and Ukrainian), who we’ve haven’t seen much on U.S. streaming shores, but amid her 20-so film and decade of credits, you may have seen her best known film, Soldiers of the Damned (2015). American (Indiana) born Nick Whittman made his business bones as a stuntman and transitioned as an actor with the National Geographic/FX series Mars (2016 – 2019); The Inheritance is his leading man debut. (Do you have Apple TV? You can watch Mars for free on that platform.)
So, with that front-of-and-behind-the-camera-pedigree, it’s not a surprise that The Inheritance walked away with a “Best Actress Award” for Natalia Ryumina at the 2020 Paris Art and Movie Awards: for an actor is only as good as the script, the film, and the other actors around them. It’s a tale about Sasha and Peter as they head off to Europe to collect on Sasha’s inheritance: a regal mansion. She soon comes to discover dark family secrets of the paranormal variety in her Ukraine family manor’s walls.
The Inheritance premiered at the Catalina Film Festival on September 18, 2020. You can watch The Inheritance On-Demand and DVD in North America on April 13, 2021 from Uncork’d Entertainment. Producer Firepower Entertainment also gave us the five-episode mini-series Chernobyl (2019) staring the always welcomed Jared Harris and the always great Stellan Skarsgard.
Disclaimer: We were provided a screener by the production company’s P.R firm. That has no bearing on our review.