I have a disease. I’m not particularly aware of what this disease is called, but it is easy to describe (and I’m not alone). Whenever I see a film that has been shot in HD on the big screen, I can notice it immediately as not being film. It has a very distasteful video look to me. It is extremely noticeable in scenes that are dark, having almost a home video appearance to me. My good friend suffers from the same disease, and it makes trips to the cineplex together a gamble many times. The reason being, I don’t enjoy the experience. If it is a film meant to look like video from a camcorder, say “Cloverfield”, I can get by. But if it’s a film that the director was trying to be artistic, such as “Public Enemies”, I almost expect my money back.
That leads us to today’s film. I will attempt to rate the film apart from that hapless setback, as it wasn’t a horrible film.
31 Days of Howl-oween
A Review of Films Filled with Frights
~ Session 9 ~
Director: Brad Anderson
Cast: David Caruso, Steven Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, Peter Mullan, Brendan Sexton III
Country: United States
Specs: 97 mins. / Color / OAR 2.35:1 / MPAA Rating: R
A cleaning crew is called into an abandoned psychiatric hospital to remove some asbestos. Soon, the men begin to suffer from various mental anxieties until one of them disappears. When he is later briefly seen wandering in a dazed state, they set out to find him and finish the job, before they all go mad.
A very good scare filled movie that amazingly relies very little on violence. The creepiness is all in what isn’t seen, and when it is, it is very reminiscent of “The Blair Witch Project”, especially given the aforementioned video look.
The acting of the film isn’t the greatest that it could be, nor are the characters entirely original, but it is forgivable as the abandoned asylum has a haunting enough character of its own. Not entirely knowing what is going on, or what we as the viewer are supposed to be scared of, made the spookiness of it all the more harrowing.
Sadly, the payoff at the end was a large letdown. It basically took everything that was menacing and unknown throughout the film and turned it into a big gimmick, with loads of what ended up being unnecessary story points and scenes (other than establishing the characterizations of the characters, I presume).
Loads of suspense, claustrophobia to the tilt, but like a frightening nightmare, it all will be forgotten once the lights come back up.
My Rating: *** / C-
Available on Amazon: Session 9