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Scarecrow on Seattle: INHERITANCE

In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Film + Music to bring you reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on how these films showcase the region's many filmable locations.

Inheritance (2004)

Abbey Nielsen (Jen Taylor) works as a caretaker for an elderly woman named Lillian Baker (Marjorie Eden Nelson) with a big, beautiful house. Even though Lillian is kind of a grump and does her best to sabotage Abbey's impending marriage, Abbey feels a strong sense of loyalty towards her eccentric boss. Soon the sandman comes knocking at Lillian's door and the dearly departed unexpectedly leaves her home and belongings to her helpful employee. Abbey is pretty excited about her new digs, but almost immediately she begins behaving strangely. She drastically alters her hair, sleeps around on her fiance, and has conversations with disembodied spirits like a ghost kid at Lakeview Cemetery. Abbey is confused-she is not in control of her actions and, much of the time, isn't even aware of what is happening. Eventually she videotapes herself and discovers that, yep, she is doing all sorts of weird stuff and, like those of us who read the movie's tagline on the DVD box, she realizes that, "When old Mrs. Baker died, Abbey inherited more than just her house."

Video game nerds will be excited to learn that Jen Taylor is also the voice of Cortana in the Halo franchise. Seattle location nerds may be excited about the large amounts of local eye candy on display. I'm not sure where Mrs. Baker's house is located but if I had to guess a neighborhood I'd say Madrona. Abbey hangs out at the Victrola Coffee on 15th Avenue and in one scene she goes down the street to Jamjuree with her fiance for some dinner. The restaurant is closed even though it's only 8:30 in the evening, causing Abbey to quip, "That's Seattle for you." At one point Abbey has a little freakout on a Metro bus. Seattle public transit purists may wonder why her bus is clearly labeled Route 301 but she exits at a Route 12 stop. Look carefully when Abbey visits the doctor and you'll spot local playwright and Scarecrow Video regular Mark Handley in a brief bit as an "unkempt man" in the waiting room. When I spend more time wondering about the accuracy of bus routes, spotting Scarecrow customers, and enjoying a picture of the Food Giant hung in someone's kitchen, I know I am not particularly engaged in a movie. This modest, low-budget ghost story makes an attempt at a moody horror film that relies on mysterious events, empty houses, and strange behavior rather than offering up much in the way of genuine scares. While it is an admirable undertaking, the proceedings are too low key to generate any noteworthy suspense or frights. The filmmakers previously worked on an acclaimed short mockumentary called White Face that is supposed to be pretty good and is available for rent in Scarecrow's Local Filmmaker section. I think I'll check it out and see what else Brian McDonald and Kris Kristensen (co-founder of the 20/20 Awards) have to offer because, heck, these guys were nice enough to thank Scarecrow Video in the credits for Inheritance. I feel like I owe them one.

-Spenser Hoyt

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