Cast: Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva, Chandler Riggs, Bruce Dern
Director: Anthony Jerjen
I don’t know what happened to Bruce Dern, but this is a weird path for him to be going on. Maybe it’s his age, but a former mainstream actor has now really reduced himself to small roles in independent movies. Sometimes it works out like in the case of Freaks, but that definitely isn’t the case with Inherit the Viper. While the premise is promising and the movie ends on an exclamation point, Inherit the Viper doesn’t capitalize on its plot and leaves the audience bored for the majority of the 90 minute runtime.
The film follows the Conley family, a group of drug dealers led by Kip (Hartnett), Josie (Levieva), and their younger brother Boots (Owen Teague). After a series of drug deals don’t go their way, the family decides it’s time to leave this life of crime behind them. While that sounds like a promising idea, the amount of damage they’ve done with this career eventually catches up with them and they have to face the consequences of their transgressions. Much like in any other crime drama, it’s only a matter of time before they reap what they sow and come face-to-face with those who they’ve harmed in the past. From a fundamental standpoint, everything about this movie should work as long as it sticks to a basic format and the actions of each character make sense. For the most part, Inherit the Viper sticks to this formula, especially towards the end when we see the final revelation of the plot. There’s a certain tenacity that exists throughout this movie and much like the drugs that they sell, there’s a feeling of anxiety and anguish that persists throughout the movie from beginning to end. With that in mind, the movie never really takes the opportunity to set itself apart from the pack and do something unique. It’s basically a carbon-copy of every similar movie that has been released, and that prevents it from ever reaching its full potential. I think Inherit the Viper could’ve used far more organization from Jerjen to help guide the movie along and find a way to make it stand out to the viewers. There are multiple scenes and subplots that seem to go absolutely nowhere and never really connect each portion of the movie together. As soon as you start to get invested in something, the movie jerks back to the main plot and just keeps pushing forward. If any one of these extra moments had been developed to the best of its ability, then there’s a solid chance my opinion of Inherit the Viper would be much higher than what it actually is. There are more than a few moments that allow the movie to hold its own and show that it’s a respectable movie, but not enough to do anything spectacular with its 90 minutes of screentime. I didn’t expect much considering the circumstances on how it was released, but every once in a while an independent movie needs to take a risk and this time it didn’t pay off.
Overall, for a January streaming release, it’s not the end of the world that Inherit the Viper didn’t blow anyone away. It definitely has an ending to remember, so if you do end up watching it you’ll have something to look forward to. I don’t see too many people actively seeking out this movie, but those who do won’t exactly have a lot to talk about afterwards. Inherit the Viper is a fundamentally below-average movie that has enough spark to keep it off the worst of the year lists but not enough to help it do anything special.
Overall Score: 4/10