From its thoroughly uninspired poster design – suspiciously similar to 13 Cloverfield Lane – to its predictable and formulaic plot, Vaughn Stein’s thriller, Inheritance, occasionally entertains but contains few shining or memorable moments.
The setup is intriguing enough: a wealthy fiance exec who passes away leaves his DA daughter, Lauren (Lily Collins), “only” a million dollars, but bequeaths nearly $25 million to her little brother, a congressman running for re-election.
Her father, who seemed like a brutal man in life, was disappointed Lauren became a DA rather than a private-practice lawyer in order to help shield the family, hence the small inheritance, but he also reveals to her his darkest secret: he’s been keeping a man held captive in an underground bunker on the grounds of their summer home. Now, Lauren must discover who this man is, why her father has been keeping him there and what to do with him.
Simon Pegg plays the man’s captive in a rare dramatic role, but it quickly becomes evident that he should stick with comedy, as his performance adds little color to the film aside from the ridiculous wigs he’s sporting. This is in part due to the banal script, giving Pegg little to work with and ensuring that – even when the third-act twists start to drop – we’re left unimpressed and unsurprised.
Playing out like a low-rent version of HBO’s Succession, we’re presented this story about an obscenely wealthy family whose members clearly reek of corruption. Perhaps you might think this kidnapped man holds the key to their salvation, but a tale of morality this is not. All the revelations are simply upended and disregarded as the third act opts for a straightforward thriller, making Lauren’s journey into her family’s dark past feel as though it was for naught.
Collins delivers a solid performance despite her character being woefully underdeveloped. Her relationship with her husband and daughter is established early in the film and then barely touched on again, and the fact that they decided to make this character the Manhattan District Attorney, a role that usually mandates decades of experience, is a stretch to say the least, especially when she’s shocked to discover her family greased the wheels to get her the gig.
In the end it all feels like a pointless endeavor with an outcome that doesn’t even come close to living up to the premise. Inheritance takes itself too seriously, given the hefty amount of silliness involved in the half-baked script, and by the time the credits were rolling, the memories of this film already begun fading and making me yearn for the next season of Succession even more.