A young, newlywed couple (played by Andy Ostroff and Heather Adair) find their lives thrown into chaos when their eight year old daughter, Imogen (Alyssa Koerner), begins to shows signs of distinctly odd behaviour.
I don't generally enjoy criticising the work of somebody who clearly put in a great deal of effort in making the film as Bryan Coyne clearly did as he not only took upon directing duties but writing and producing roles as well, however, the film is simply just terrible. Infernal immediately gets off to a bad start when it quickly dawned on me that this will be a found footage film. Of course not all found footage films are bad but apart from being a easy and quick method to make a film as cheap as chips there isn't a great benefit to the viewer. Here the found footage gimmick is completely unnecessary but the film does attempt to justify it by having the parents document the progress of their possibly autistic daughter.
It's clear that films like Paranormal Activity are major influences on Coyne's work as both films are slow burners and use little, peculiar events to build the dread to the film's explosive finale. The problem is, however, whilst each of the Paranormal Activity films achieved this to some extent, Infernal doesn't even come close to building an atmosphere of dread, in fact Infernal is just terribly boring. Clocking in at around 100 minutes the film has plenty of time drag, particularly in the opening twenty minutes where we are introduced to the friends of the newlywed couple in a series of scenes which are entirely pointless. We also have to spend a good chuck on the film looking at a young girl combing her hair (no idea why she does this) and hearing the irritating couple bicker with one another.
There are one or two generally good moments (the ending is quite shocking) but overall the film suffers from poor writing (the couple rarely watches the recordings their cameras caught? Why?) poor dialogue and merely passable acting, but the most irritating thing of all is the constant close up shots during scenes of one on one conversation. We are pretty much in the nostrils of the character we are focusing on. It would also be appreciated if the camera was kept steady for more than two seconds.
Camera Trap is another found footage horror film but the justification for such a filming technique is far more convincing and the film itself is far higher in quality than Infernal. Four filmmakers go out in search of the extremely rare Amur Snow Leopard, but there is something far more deadly lurking in the woods. What director Alex Verner (who is also an experienced wildlife documentarian) does well is build up the tension concerning the identity of the beast that's roaming the forests and killing the livestock. The suspense is built up very well before the inevitable disappointment when we actually see the beast (SPOILER ALERT) of which we only see it for the briefest of fleeting glances. We don't see much but the smart use of sound creates a feeling of unease and heightens the dread for the horror ahead. Camera Trap is generally tense and whilst it's a tad slow in places it's a well made film, decently acted and contains moments of strong, nerve-racking tension.