17 Dec 2011

Don't Look In The Basement - Will's Review

I am so undecided about this movie. On the one hand I don't really see much in the way of redeeming features, on the other hand, I found it quite an easy watch. That said, I'm not sure an asylum set exploitation movie should be easy to watch...

It seems to be equally schizophrenic about itself;  the movies 'twist' is given away on the poster, but it seems from the movie that the filmmakers wanted to surprise you with it.

I'm not sure if the twist would have been a surprise or not of the poster, tagline and trailer hadn't ruined it going in - it certainly seems well enough executed that you might not have spotted it, but it's such a cliché that you may well have been ready for it. Also - it cheats! I don't really buy that  none of the inmates would have said anything sooner than try do

Speaking of the inmates, one thing that did strike me was the size of the cast! There are only 13 people in the entire movie (not even so much as an extra in the background) but almost every one of them (with the possible exception of the telephone repair man) is an actual character (and all but 2 of them will die before the credits roll, which is a heck of a cast:kill ratio!)

So what of the plot? The asylum in which the movie is set is far from conventional - its curator, a Doctor Stephens, has rather unusual ideas about how to treat insanity; his potentially groundbreaking 'obsession development therapy' in which patients are encouraged to live out thier dilutions, in the hope that they become so big they'll go away...  or something. I can't say it sounds like the best plan...

Anyway, the day before our heroin (nurse Beal) starts at the asylum, Doctor Stephens is 'treating' an axe-obsessed patient... By allowing him to chop wood with a scary, sharp, axe. What could possibly go wrong?

With the main doctor dead, and the previous nurse having handed in her resignation, the last remaining staff member, Doctor Masters, decided to greet the new girl and carry on the running of the place as normal!

Most of the rest of the movie is simply the asylum going about its business, but the colourful collection of inmates keep it from getting dull - there's an ex soldier who still belies that 'they' are coming every night, an enormous man child (the result of Stephens' final lobotomy - and the reason he quit surgery), a woman who's obsessed with a tiny tears doll, a catatonic / mute woman, an axe-obsessed justice I the peace, and old lady who thinks that flowers are her children, a nymphomaniac, and a generically-mad ginger.

The biggest problem I think, is the pacing of the murders... 2 happen  at the beginning of the film, but most of the rest happen in (literally) the last scene. I think if the twist had been hidden, and the kills spread 'whodunnit' style throughout the movie, this one could have been quite good - I certainly hope that that's the direction next year's remake will take.  As it stands its a flat, but not unpleasant, way to kill and hour and a half.

Body count: 11
Boob count: 1 pair
Animal Body count: 0
Most memorable death: let me axe you somethin' Doc...

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

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