The underlying problem with Inherit The Viper is how it lays flat tonally for beginning to end. The action scenes are just not exciting enough. The tension is not strong enough. The deaths that occur have little weight. Bad things happen throughout the movie, and they barely register a pulse. As an audience, we need to emotionally care about the events taking place and connect with the plight of the three main characters. Arguably, we do feel for them, but not in a deep enough way to sustain a feature-length film.
I’ll give you an example from the start of the film. While at a bar, Josie provides a woman with some drugs to feel better. The woman runs off to the bathroom. Minutes later, Josie walks in on the dead body of the woman and she grabs her unused drugs for next time. Josie is most likely a sociopath. She finds no emotion in the death of others. In a way, watching it go down, we feel nothing about their death either. It’s a shocking act, but doesn’t appear surprising in any way…in the way the death is played out…or in the way, the corpse is discovered. This lack of caring happens with each member of the Riley family. When something terrible happens to them, they shrug it off as if it means little to them, and therefore we shrug it off too. Kip is the only one who expresses any kind of guilt in the end, but he merely expresses it, he doesn’t feel it.
“Kip’s two-steps-forward-three-steps-back character arc is intriguing when juxtaposed against his unbalanced brother and sister.”
I’ll end on a good note. The underlying story of Inherit The Viper is not bad. It’s pretty solid. I do love the idea of a drug-inspired dysfunctional family dynamic. Kip’s two-steps-forward-three-steps-back character arc is intriguing when juxtaposed against his unbalanced brother and sister. If I thought about it, I think where the course of the filmmaking went wrong was in its character development. The siblings (and everyone else) have very little dimension to them. There’s a little bit of a back story with the abusive father, but its depth ends there. But why does Josie delight in the death of others? Why does Boots want to get into the family business (other than the obvious reasons)? You have these fantastic actors, especially in Josh Hartnett, and of course, Bruce Dern. Allow the actors to flesh out their characters more and give them permission to take risks beyond the mere words in the script.
Inherit The Viper had the potential to be an exciting thriller with dramatic family elements. Instead, its characters fall flat as if the actors were not allowed or unwilling to flesh out their characters more. Audiences may find it hard to connect with the lead characters or the plight of their situation.
"…bought himself a hot-looking speedster and wants in on the family business."