‘INHERITANCE’ is a thriller released by Vertical Entertainment digitally and not theatrically due to the corona crisis. Set in 2008, it stars Lily Collins (Snow White in "Mirror Mirror") as Lauren, a young district attorney in Manhattan. She’s the daughter of an immensely wealthy New York tycoon, Archer Monroe (Patrick Warburton). While in a press conference, she is informed that her dad died suddenly from a heart attack while driving his car.
Her dad’s last will shows that the bulk of his estate is left to his wife Catherine (Connie Nielsen). His son William (Chace Crawford), his favorite, a congressman running for reelection, is also given a big chunk of his fortune. Lauren gets a smaller share, but she also gets something else, a secret inheritance.
Their family lawyer gives her a key that leads to a secret bunker hidden inside their heavily wooded estate. In the underground room, she meets a total stranger, Morgan Warner (Simon Pegg), who tells her that her dad has been keeping him a captive in this secret prison for 30 long years.
Morgan says he used to be a good friend of her dad, but one night, while his dad is driving while drunk, they hit a pedestrian and when they get off the car, they find out the victim has been killed. His dad buries the victim in the woods then makes Morgan his prisoner to stop him for exposing the crime.
Through the years, her dad continues to care for Morgan and even makes him his private confessor with whom he shares many of his secrets. He reveals that his dad has a longtime mistress and Lauren later looks for the woman and gets to talk to her.
Morgan also tells her where to find the location where the remains of the pedestrian is buried. Lauren is persuaded that Morgan’s stories are true and gives him his freedom, even instructing their lawyer to arrange a bank account for him as some sort of compensation.
This turns out to be a big mistake and is Lauren in for a truly big surprise. But of course, we can’t reveal the very big twist here so as not to spoil your viewing pleasure. The film actually hooks our interest from the start when we see her father stumbling into his car and dying at the wheel. You’d think he’s having a heart attack but it turns out the cause of his death is something else.
Lily Collins gives a thoroughly engaging performance as the perplexed and embattled heroine. She neglects her own husband and daughter as she gets deeply embroiled in Morgan’s case that puts her into a personal moral quandary. She starts with her a buttoned down district attorney and her character gradually develops as she uncovers the truth about her family, reaching into a crescendo of rage in the violent climax.
Simon Pegg is also very convincing as the seemingly oppressed victim of a dastard crime who immediately gets the viewer’s sympathy. He’s usually known his comic roles, even in the “Star Trek” and in “Mission Impossible” franchises, and here, he plays his enigmatic and ultimately menacing character to the hilt, no holds barred.
But as the story goes, you’d wonder if he’s really telling the whole truth or just trying to maneuver Lauren according to his own schemes. Of course, you would have to suspend your disbelief and not take it all very seriously for you to be able to fully appreciate the goings on onscreen. For anyone to be secretly held captive in isolation for 30 years seems hard to believe.
Director Vaugn Stein manages to keep us in suspense as we try to unravel the mystery along with Lily’s character, but after revelation upon revelation, the final big surprise makes the setup’s moral problems quite moot since Lauren has never been portrayed as corrupt and morally bankrupt as any other character in the story. As a matter of fact, she intentionally distanced herself from her father’s murky morality in conducting business dealings. We wish we could mention the big secret here but you have to see the movie for yourself to fully understand what we’re talking about.