Welcome to the Soothsayer’s Weird Wednesday. I’m not the Soothsayer. For the month of November, I will be filling in on Wednesdays to allow our host to get that sleep he never gets and to bring you a different flavor of review. I’ll be taking a look into my own crystal ball to bring you my version of the truth, tying it into either a special say that arrives that week or a movie release on the Friday. Thanks for reading and enjoy.
When SAW came out in 2004 it had an original premise, was inexpensive to make and used gore to its best effect. It was a game changer. What stuck most of all though was the gore and in the seven years since it came out that has had created a rift amongst some horror fans. Horror purists claim that horror movies should be about mood and suspense.
They claim THE EXORCIST and THE SHINING as precedent. The second camp points to their own predecessors, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and DAWN OF THE DEAD, as examples of what horror can be, a medium to, literally, horrify you with what is happening to the characters on screen. This feud may never end.
This brings us to this Friday’s release of 11-11-11. Director Darren Lynn Bousman made his name with the SAW franchise and showed his proficiency at making us cringe and recoil from some pretty horrific images. With 11-11-11 he tries his hand at a slower paced psychological horror.
The film follows Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs) a successful author who lost his faith in God after his Wife and son died in a fire. He is noticing that strange things are happening at 11:11 but chalks it up to coincidence. When his brother, Samuel (Michael Landes) calls with news that his father Richard (Denis Rafter) is dying Joseph returns home. We learn that both Samuel and Richard are both Pastors for a small parish that they run out of their home.
The movie questions faith. For the longest time it is Joseph’s lack of faith against Samuel’s belief. Here we get long scenes of the two brothers debating and the movie slows to a crawl. Every now and then we are reminded that something might be going on as Joseph begins to have visions and hallucinations, warnings he thinks, all at 11:11. Rather than driving the story forward in any way these visions drag the movie down into a retread of the faith debate as Joseph begins to wonder if something more might be happening and Samuel argues against it.
There is one sequence that ratchets up what might be terror but it is too early and is quickly forgotten as the movie plods along in dialogue heavy scenes and research. Bousman proved with the SAW franchise that he knew how to play with the ticking clock concept of horror but he squanders it here with a concept that is nothing but a countdown to a certain date. T
The movie holds no suspense and, in fact, holds no interest. It is paced far too slowly; it misses any tonal sense of dread and doesn’t even provide a good jump scare. In trying to distance himself from SAW Bousman has also distanced himself from horror.
Maybe that’s what we can take away from 11-11-11. The splatter horror versus psychological horror debate rages on and Bousman proves that the same skills work for both, even if he proved it by abandoning his skill set. Bousman shows that horror is always horror no matter the style but he fails to provide an entertaining movie in the process.
The one redeeming factor to 11-11-11 is the score by Joseph Bishara. It is haunting and effective and reminiscent of his work on the horror film INSIDIOUS from earlier this year, which you would be better off checking out as it is much scarier and much more compelling than 11-11-11.
(1 out of 5)
Movie opens November 11.