9/23/2018

THE BASEMENT (2018) (Review)

Title: The Basement
Director: Brian M. Conley
Writers: Brian M. Conley, Nathan Ives
Cast: Mischa Barton, Bailey Anne Borders, Cayleb Long, Jackson Davis, Christa Conley
Min: 90
Year: 2018

Craig Owen (Cayleb Long) is married to the beautiful Kelly (Mischa Barton). One night, he goes to the bodega. There, he gets a text from a woman, who we later learn is Bianca (the gorgeous Bailey Anne Borders) best friend of Kelly, herself. Anyway, he never makes it back home to his lovely wife, as he ends up getting kidnapped. When he awakens he finds himself, tied to a chair in a basement (well, that is the movie's title, after all). He is prisoner to Billy (Jackson Davis) an LA based serial killer. Billy begins to use different outfits and personas to relive his capture, adding in torture and what would have been his imminent execution. Craig tries to get through to Billy and gain his empathy. But, Billy's sanity continues to deteriorate. And, in the meantime, Kelly asks if anyone has seen her husband, including talking to Bianca. All while, shit begins to get worse and worse for him, at the insane hands of Billy.
The Basement is best described as Split meets a more mature version of Hostel. It presents an interesting if not wholly original idea. The intimate setting and small cast allow for both its high and low points. This resulting in an uneven but watchable experience.

Aside from the obvious comparisons to the two aforementioned horror movies, especially M. Knight Shyamalan's Split, the biggest problem with the movie is its pacing. Not a whole lot happens during its hour, expect a lot talking and some torture. Admit ably whenever the later happens it's very intense and brutal punching you back to be awake. The other times, though, it is really just a crazy dude in a bunch of outfits talking crazy shit to a British guy, who is tied up and scared shitless. I almost ended up not liking this movie cause of the slow pace, however, by the last half hour I became invested in it.
As such, I am glad I had the patience to keep watching it because the last half hour is intense and unmitigated merciless. Stabbings, slicings, and one of the most vicious uses of a blowtorch in recent memory result in powerful moments. The climax is nasty with a good ending that serves as a nice way to wrap everything up.

But, even if at times it is kind of boring, the one that really always works is the excellent acting. Our two male leads Cayleb Long and Jackson Davis, as Craig and Billy respectively, are great. They play off of each other wonderfully and really bring their characters to life. Extra credit must be given to Davis, who has the hard task of playing one character who, himself, plays lots of other characters. Each of them are suitably distinct, while still keeping Billy in the undercurrent. I am a long time fan of the gorgeous Mischa Barton, best known for acting on the TV show The O.C. She is likable and, of course, incredibly beautiful here. I would honestly love to see her in more genre movies, so long as she is given a good role, like in this one, and is not wasted as was the case in Apartment 1303 3D.
The Apartment is ultimately a decent flick. It can be a little on the boring side with a first hour where not a whole lot happens. And, it comes off a bit reminiscent of other more popular horror flicks. However, if you have the patience, it does pay off. The last half hour is intense and brutal, and I kind of dug the ending. Well acted throughout, you could a whole lot worse, than watching this serviceable take on torture porn.


2.5 out of 4 

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