"The Inheritance" Movie Plot

by Robbin McClain
Golden Brooks stars as Karen in

Golden Brooks stars as Karen in "The Inheritance."

Timothy Norris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"The Inheritance," a 2011 movie from first-time writer/director Robert O'Hara, brings originality to the horror genre. The movie features an almost all-black cast, unlike most slasher films in which token African-American characters are usually the first to die. It also delves into the horrors of slavery, linking the violence of the past with the present-day terror that the movie's characters face.


Five cousins have been summoned by their aunts and uncles, known as The Elders, to a family reunion in a remote mansion during the dead of winter. The Elders have money, so Karen, a doctor; Henry, a boxer; Lily, a chef; Tyrone, a writer; and Simpson, a programmer, assume they will soon receive their share of the family fortune. Simpson hopes to make a business deal with The Elders and has brought along his bosses, a white couple named Martin and Julie.

The First Night

Assembled at the mansion, the cousins learn that The Elders will not arrive until the next day. Uncle Melvin has thoughtfully provided a case of wine and a big bag of marijuana, so the cousins have a party. Everyone has fun until Lily finds a bloody message on a window and freaks out. They all decided to turn in, and when Martin and Julie have sex, they're murdered.

Family History

The next morning, the eight Elders have arrived. Clad in African attire, they assemble the cousins in the living room. Uncle Melvin tells the family history, which includes the tale of Chakabazz, a prophet and slave who survived a lynching. Chakabazz promised the slaves that he would provide them with wealth as long as they offered him their firstborn children. He spares one child so the family line can continue, and he tells everyone that this sacrifice must continue with each generation. The cousins don't take this story seriously, and they wonder about their share of the money.


After the meeting with The Elders, cell phones stop working, doors start locking and the cousins realize that they will be the next sacrifices to Chakabazz. Karen takes a bath, falls asleep and dreams of having sex with Chakabazz. African warriors begin attacking the cousins, who don't know whether to stay in the house or in their cars. Lily tries to escape by car, only to crash into a tree. When the other cousins reach her, they see the body of Martin in the back seat and they run into the woods.

Conclusion (Spoiler)

Running blindly through the woods, the cousins stumble onto a bonfire where The Elders are calling Chakabazz to come take their sacrifice. Eventually, only Karen and Henry remain locked inside the mansion. As Henry types an email to tell the outside world what's happening, Karen, influenced by Chakabazz, kills him with an ax blow to the head.

About the Author

Robbin McClain has been writing professionally since 1992. She has written about beauty, fashion, health, business and crafts for "American Salon," "Redbook," "Woman's Day" and other publications. McClain holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas.

Photo Credits

  • Timothy Norris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images