11.01.2012

#231 -- Don't Look in the Cellar (2008)

Rating: 2 / 5
Director: Dennis Devine

Ugh, there are so many things wrong with this movie. I'd been putting off on watching it, because from the synopsis, it just didn't seem like something I'd be into. I'm not really sure why, because I'm all for abandoned asylums; but the way it was described made it seem like it would be stupid. I was not wrong.

It was actually a pretty good premise. A bunch of college kids, trying to earn some extra credit for their history class, go to an abandoned asylum to learn the truth of its past. It's your typical group of horror movie folks: the lesbians, the jerk, the nice guy, the nice girl, the whore, the shy girl, and the older sister. Once they get to asylum, people start dying in extremely boring ways. It turns out, a couple of the inmates hid, so that they weren't caught and shipped away. One of them was just some guy who liked to warn people to--shock!--not go into the cellar. And then there was Smiley, the horrendous serial killer. I don't mean horrendous as in scary; I mean he was just plain awful. He wore a burlap sack on his head, and it had a smiley face painted in blood. That could have been pretty creepy, but it just wasn't.

Okay, let's talk about where the movie goes wrong. First of all, the asylum was shut down ten years before the kids showed up. If it happened only ten years before, there's no way they'd be learning about it in a college history class. No way. It all happened on Halloween, and they decided to turn it into a research/Halloween party. I guess they were trying to make us think, "Hey, it's a Halloween party, but they're learning!" They wanted to be different. But it was just stupid, in my opinion. One of the girls' mom had access to the keys into the place, but get this. The doors locked from both the inside and outside, and each lock needed a different key. Sounds strange to me. But that was so that, when she tried to use her key to get out, it didn't work. The so-called "asylum" was obviously just someone's house. I didn't believe for one second that it was actually an asylum. Their "school" also looked like someone's house. I understand it was low-budget, and they weren't able to rent the proper buildings and what-not, but all made the movie so unrealistic.

There was a story about a nurse getting raped by crazy people and giving birth to Smiley, only for him to kill her for leaving him alone there. Then there were a couple of girls who supposedly let all the crazies out, but it was actually Smiley. And two of the girls we're following are very closely connected to him, one of which has a lot in common with him. It's actually an okay story, but the execution was absolutely horrible. The kills were unimaginative and boring; the killer himself was boring. The characters were pretty likable at first, but they became boring after a while too. I will say that the acting was actually pretty good, and I think the best of the bunch was Laura Artolachipi, who played the foreign lesbian girl. She had more emotion and character than all the rest of them combined, and I believe she was wonderful. There was a scene when she was talking to Melissa, the really shy and awkward girl. She was telling her that, when she first moved to the country, she had trouble fitting in, and she thought that her chances of being happy were hopeless. But she wanted Melissa to know that she did find happiness, and that it was possible for Melissa as well. I thought it was beautiful, and she did a good job. I really liked her from then on, but of course...the ones I like never make it.

Overall, I think it was a good idea, but its low budget hindered it, unfortunately. I have nothing against low budget movies, as all of you know. But I've seen a lot of really wonderful low-budget movies, and it's sad, because I know that this one could have been so much better.

And I've got to warn you about the trailer of the movie. It looks pretty interesting, but don't believe it. It shows scenes of women being tied and bound, and has creepy shots of a cellar, but none of that really happens. Sure, there's a cellar, but it doesn't look as good as it does in the trailer. And there are no women being bound and killed; they're just killed quickly. So, if you've seen the trailer and are interested...you have been warned.

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