What I'm Watching: 11-11-11
The movies, they never stop, do they?
Today's viewing pleasure is brought to us by Darren Lynn Bousman, the mastermind behind a handful of Saw movies and a few other flicks.
11-11-11 is NOT a Saw movie. Not even close. There's not even any blood in this movie. It is way more plot driven than gore driven. This is not spectacle, this is plot and character.
It is the story of an atheist writer, recovering from the loss of his wife and child, who gets slowly sucked into the world of the supernatural when he starts noticing recurring numbers in his life. On top of all that, he is called back to Barcelona, Spain, where his father and brother still live. Oh, and they're both priests.
The conspiracy behind the 11s grows, and slowly reveals a deeper world to Joseph than he ever imagined, and never believed in, all of it centering around his brother and the impending date in the title.
I hope Bousman somehow stumbles upon this review, because in his commentary he talked about how the movie was blasted, ill received, and just treated like crap, and for a lot of wrong reasons that the movie did not deserve.
But me? I *loved* this movie. Looooved.
I don't know if it's because I'm a writer, and an atheist myself, with his own numbers constantly haunting him, and thus could connect with the main character that much more, or I saw something others didn't, or I just got to see the completed movie, and not the half-edited, unfinished movie that went around the pirate sites and was reviewed long before this version was even released. But this was a good movie.
Is it flawed? Well, yeah. You can see the budgetary problems if you look closely. Or even not that closely. The creatures are very dodgy, the script needed a bit of polish, but for the most part, sure. It was a good ride.
Some of my fave stuff is how subtle this movie is. There's no jump scares that I can remember right now, and most of the early scares in the movie are all in the background, and you see them out of the corner of your eye, or just for a second, just like Joseph. It really drew me into the movie with just those brief glimpses you almost wonder if you saw what you think you saw. They don't really scare you, they don't make you cringe, but they DO instill this sense of dread and impending doom, and I *really* liked how it was handled.
Another thing I liked, in the same subtle category, is towards the end of the movie. Joseph is trying to get out of the infested home and save his brother. The lights are out, vines are everywhere (Which is never adequately displayed, but still looked cool at times), and light/flashes start exploding in the walls. With each burst and crackle, you catch JUST the barest hint of arcane symbology on the walls, and then they're gone. It was a really cool effect, and I wasn't sure I was seeing it at first.
The story makes sense, the mysteries play fair, and it unfolds slowly over the course of the film, and even has something to say on the nature of faith. I also probably had an affinity for the movie because it unfolded almost exactly how I hoped it would, and gave me answers in a most satisfying way.
The acting was rock solid for the main cast. The creatures, not so much, but they don't have to be great actors, just stand around and look scary. ;) Which they still had issues with, but I almost love the movie just as much for managing to pull off what they did with botched demons than I do for the actual quality of storytelling.
Also, this movie is a slow burn, that draws you in over the course of the first hour, before everything goes to hell. And I love a good slow burn. Just enough horrory goodness is mixed in during the start that you shouldn't be bored, and you really get to know the characters when the shit hits that fan, so you care what happens.
11-11-11 is well crafted for what it is, has a good story that holds up better than a lot of other movies, and while it IS flawed, due to so many factors, the fact that they made such a movie that ended up working so well against such restraints is amazing.
So yes, if by some quirk of fate Bousman comes across this; Hey! SOMEone out there loved the crap out of this movie, and I highly recommend it to any horror fan.