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With: Lily Collins, Simon Pegg, Connie Nielsen, Chace Crawford, Patrick Warburton, Marque Richardson, Michael Beach, Rebecca Adams
Written by: Matthew Kennedy
Directed by: Vaughn Stein
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 111
Date: 05/22/2020

Inheritance (2020)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Inherit the Dearth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Available for digital rental starting Friday, Vaughn Stein's Inheritance attempts to say a thing or two about privilege in the United States, which is certainly a timely topic.

It recalls, but can't come close to, Bong Joon-ho's Parasite. At best it finishes as a "turn-your-brain-off" kind of thriller, a better distraction than a provocation.

Stein's previous feature, Terminal, was a great-looking but muddled attempt at a film noir, and "Inheritance" follows in those footsteps.

The movie requires several large doses of suspension-of-disbelief, starting with the notion that Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) is a big city District Attorney. In real life, Collins is 31, but in the movie she looks more like a 22 year-old, with lots of makeup on.

Her younger brother William (Chace Crawford) is, even more improbably, a congressman, and running for re-election. Their father (Patrick Warburton) mysteriously dies, and his will is read. William receives $20 million, while Lauren gets a paltry $1 million, plus the key to a family secret.

In a video, her father tells her where to look, and, in the woods, near her own childhood fort, she finds an underground bunker. Inside the bunker is a creepy man (Simon Pegg), apparently locked up and kept prisoner there for years by Lauren's father.

From there, Inheritance becomes a cat-and-mouse game as Lauren tries to figure out what to do and who to trust. (If only Lauren had seen a few more movies.)

Both Collins and Pegg give interesting performances — Pegg gets a few delicious scenes in which, for the first time in years, he smells the night air and eats his first steak — but the story fails to coalesce around their characters.

The mystery could have been tighter, or slipperier, but instead it's too slow and too chunky, giving us too much time to ask questions and discover holes. In truth, this Inheritance isn't worth much.

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