Incarnate tells the rather ambitious tale of a psychiatrist whose disintegrating marriage and feelings of self-doubt are complicated by his encounter with a supernatural being who, in turn, may be connected to a series of mysterious murders. As usual in a genre film, the acting is variable, though the lead, David Adler, is quite good and the direction, by Ben Ketai, is both imaginative and restrained. The main drawback is that it’s been filmed on video, a medium which can suck the atmosphere out of any scene, no matter how well it’s acted or directed.

OK, here’s the punchline: Incarnate was made on a budget of $3,000; director Ketai is 17 years old and his cast members are between the ages of 14 and 18. In other words, this is the sort of thing you might expect to come across on community access cable, with one main difference – it’s actually pretty good.

One has to make allowances for the participants’ inexperience, but not nearly as much as you might expect. By making a sharp little feature like this on a shoestring and some video, Ketai has proven that he has talent. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do given some real money and some actual film.

Richard C. Walls writes about the arts for the Metro Times. E-mail him at

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