By: John Allen
The Basement, starring Jackson Davis, Cayleb Long, and Mischa Barton, is the kind of concept that most horror fans would be stoked to watch. Craig Owen (Long) is kidnapped outside a convenience store; held captive and tortured by Bill (Davis) a serial killer, who is apparently looking for some catharsis to his own violent crimes, and imagined capture. Meanwhile, Craig’s wife Kelly (Barton) is left wondering what happened to her husband, while waiting the standard 24 hours before he can be considered a missing person.
The story had potential to be one of those low budget, hidden gems that makes you wonder what it could have been if a big studio had given a green light to it. Unfortunately, The Basement suffers from disjointed dialogue, and situations. It swerves between mediocre moments and truly cringe worthy scenes of torture. If the film makers had taken a gritty styling to the film, like Tobe Hooper did with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or John Carpenters Halloween, then it could have elevated itself to a movie that could attain a cult status.
The actors do their best with what they are given to work with in the script. Its not easy creating so many different multiple personalities as Bill has, so I applaud Jackson Davis for making them so contradistinctive. The performances, like the script, meander between pedestrian and bloody brilliant. Now, these are good actors and when there is meat on the bone they chew it well; Cayleb Long is particularly first-rate towards the end as his supplications fall on deaf ears, it just takes them a long time to get there. Mischa Barton is promoted as being the star of the show because, even though she is not an A list actress, she is a recognized name, however her screen time is scant. The role exists primarily as a subplot to move away from the main action of Bills twisted game, denote time passing, and to tie the story together at the end.
Although The Basement starts off fairly unexceptional, it does back build, and its entertaining enough to get you to the best part, which comes late in the third act. I cannot tell you what it is without revealing a huge spoiler but the final scenes between Craig and Bill are tense, creepy, disturbing, and done in the tone I wish the whole movie had taken. Over all, I am going to recommend seeing The Basement, mainly because of the few genuine moments of great acting, and the satisfying surprise ending.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Screams.
The Basement gets a 10-market theatrical and digital release on September 15 2018 from Uncork’d Entertainment.