Tuesday, January 24, 2012

REVIEW: 11/11/11 (Asylum version) (2011)

Of all the infamous institutions in the movie world, I haven’t looked at any Asylum films yet. For those of you blessedly uninformed up until now, The Asylum is a hack movie studio that makes money off of cheap direct to DVD knock-offs of movies that just came out in theaters. They’re slipped into just about every video store you can find and also even on Redbox and Netflix now, and the studio puts so little money into them that they’ll always gain money back on them in return, no matter how horrible the film does critically or commercially.

Pretty much all of their films are shoe-string budget versions of blockbusters that come out every year – ‘King of the Lost World’ for the 2005 King Kong remake, ‘Snakes on a Train’ instead of Snakes on a Plane; you get the idea. They’re called ‘tie ins’ by the producers, which I guess is a clever way of saying ‘we latch onto these actual good movies like leeches onto an unsuspecting cow’s belly.’ Despicable.

Given all of this devilry, would you be surprised if I said that the movie I’m reviewing today is among the lowest of lows a movie can ever achieve? I pay $7.99 for my Netflix every month and I want a refund for this! My eyes! They burn!

Director: Keith Adams
Starring: Jon Bridell, Erin Coker

And I didn’t even know this was an Asylum movie at first. I thought it was the real 11-11-11 picture by Darren Lynn Bousman, that idiot who directed the SAW sequels and stuff. But no! This is far worse! I especially like how the guy behind Asylum maintains seriously and honestly that his movies are “original stories.” Yeah, because changing the dashes to diagonal slashes really makes all the difference, right? I guess I’m missing the point of all the rip-offs of The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby this movie has, too. Truly this is the better, more original film over those moldy old films! YOU’RE SUCH A GENIUS, ASYLUM FILMS GUY. Let’s get this radioactive alligator crap over with before I have an aneurysm.

Okay, so the film starts out with three store mannequins driving along and exchanging dialogue I could write better in my sleep. They run over a cat, the dad says they’re on a great adventure…wow, I hate these bland, milquetoast characters already! The first scene and I’m already wishing I was getting a root canal instead of watching this. Wow. That’s an accomplishment.

Alright, check out that AWESOME lighting scheme! Isn't it just obnoxious as hell the way it makes everything look like an awful low-budget 1970s TV series? Yeah, get used to that. And yes, he thinks running over a cat in the street is a great adventure for them. I'd hate to hear what he thinks of witnessing a drive-by shooting, or going by a horrendous car accident...

They get to their new house, and apparently the dad is a new teacher at the school in town. They get shown around the place by the most awkward real estate lady ever, who is about as convincing as an actor as I would be trying to pretend I like this movie. There’s also this weird old lady who comes up looking for her cat – the same one they ran over before? I don’t know; if so, the mom and dad don’t try to tell her or anything…I guess they just like being cruel and unusual.

"FEEEEEEL MY OVERRRRAAAACTING...I will win the Oscar this year if it kills me!"

They meet a few other people, and there’s a very common thread in all of the interactions that this movie has: THEY’RE ALL AWKWARD AS HELL. I mean Jesus, what is up with these people? The acting is just phenomenally awful! It's never convincing, never emotional, never even the slightest bit believable. What is this, Awkwardtown, USA? In fact, that’s what I’m calling it for the rest of the movie.

So the family adjusts to life in their new home while the weird old lady tries un-subtly to lure the little boy Nat into her garage. Why do I get the idea she’s actually on the national sex-offender registry? And you’ll notice something about Nat as well – HE NEVER SAYS ANYTHING. This must have been the easiest acting job ever. What were his directions? “Hey, kid, just stand there with that blank, confused look on your face for the entire movie. It’s cool; you only have about three and a half lines total. Just keep that dazed stare on. That's good acting for real!” Poor kid.

He's like a wooden block. I'd also like to note that even when everything is going wrong and people are clearly bad influences on this kid, as well as his mother being sick and in bed all the time, it NEVER crosses the father's mind to send him to a friggin' public school! You're an idiot, 11/11/11 dad. You're an idiot.

Things really get interesting, though, when the wife is taking a bath later that night. Her husband calls her name a couple of times and she doesn’t respond. So he goes to bed, I guess? And then she sees the clock says 11:11, so she starts screaming and then finds out that she’s got blood in the bathtub!

Yay, blood in the bathtub! Perfect way to spend a night, right The Asylum guys?

Okay, okay, time out. So what, the husband was just going to go to bed even though his wife wasn’t responding when he called her name? Why wasn't she responding anyway? Are those walls just sound-proof? Apparently not, if he can hear her screaming just two seconds later! WTF? At least try to have your scenes make a LITTLE sense, you goddamn movie!

Anyway, they go to the doctor, who tells them that the wife is pregnant and thus has to lie down in bed for weeks and not do anything or else she’ll have a miscarriage. Yup, she can’t even do basic things like walk around unsupervised. The husband even buys into it – “Be careful, honey, you might have a miscarriage,” he says when she’s doing nothing more than just standing in their house, slightly agitated. You know, movie, I’m no expert on these things, but I’m pretty sure a miscarriage isn’t something that just happens at every slightest emotional moment. Just saying, you know – consider doing some research next time. It makes you look like you’re NOT a mouth-breathing mongoloid who makes trash cinema for a living.

So they plan to hire a nanny for Nat and a nurse to take care of the wife. For the nurse, they get a fat blonde lady, and for the nanny they interview a few different people. The first one is a nice, level-headed and sweet girl who pretty much fits everything one would want in a babysitter. So of course she gets beat up and murdered in broad daylight by this other chick, Danielle, right after.

So I guess the explanation for all these broad daylight murders is supposed to be that everyone in the town is in on it, and so they don't intervene. But what's the deal with this chick, then? Was she literally the only person in town aside from the main characters who wasn't corrupt and crazy? ANSWER ME, MOVIE!

The fight choreography is beyond abysmal, I've seen better from home-made movies my friends and I made when I was 10, and REALLY, broad daylight? You’re telling me NOBODY is gonna think this is even a LITTLE shocking? That is just…ugh. Moving on. Danielle interviews for the babysitter job, too, and not nearly as convincingly – you’d think someone trying to infiltrate the family would do a better job at acting nice at first, but hey, it’s an Asylum movie!

The father calls the first girl, but Danielle stole her phone and answers it, pretending to be the first girl, and says she doesn’t want the job. Two seconds later the father calls Danielle, who answers in almost the same voice, and yet he can’t tell there’s something weird going on. She doesn’t even try to disguise her voice! I guess it’s a good thing everyone in Awkwardtown, USA is incredibly retarded, huh?

"Oh, I was totally prepared for having to impersonate a dead girl I've never met...I had better not change my vocal inflection even a little bit. That way no one will ever suspect that it's me!" Wait, what?

One of the recurring themes in the movie seems to be that, in a vaguely Hot Fuzz-esque way, everyone in this town seems to be in on this really vague plot centering around Nat and his birthday on November 11. So we get a lot of really silly scenes where people randomly barge into their house and make stilted, unbelievable conversation, but one of my favorites is in the school actually, where one of the teachers is about to talk to the husband, when the janitor goes “Don’t screw this up.” I don’t know why, but I just find that funny for some reason…the JANITOR walking around picking up trash is the one who knows what’s up, the one bossing the teachers around. There’s something not quite right about that.

So then we get this completely nonsensical scene where this retard comes into their house and talks about how a bunch of people were murdered in the house, speaking in a very casual, unfitting tone of voice and looking like he was blackmailed to be in the movie. And, you guessed it, it’s incredibly awkward! Then he goes outside and gets killed brutally in the middle of the street. Yes, in broad daylight again. No, I don’t think the makers of this movie made it past the first couple of days of Kindergarten.

BROAD DAYLIGHT is the BEST time to commit murder, and especially in the middle of a happy suburban street! This movie is teaching me so much today!

The old lady tries unconvincingly to kill Nat some more. The father even yells at Nat not to talk to her, and she still tries anyway, because hey, what didn’t work the first five thousand times is still worth trying again! This whole character is just a mystery to me. This is really the best she can do to try to get that kid? Just…continuously begging him to come with her, over and over again, with no changes to her plan? She doesn’t have, oh I don’t know, ANY OTHER IDEAS? Imagine if the Roadrunner cartoons were this unimaginative. They wouldn’t be nearly as popular.

In the middle of the night, Nat faints on the floor after drawing with blood on the walls for some reason. Will it be explained? Nope! Too bad. You thought you were getting a story in this movie? What a laugh.

Yup, we're literally given zero explanation for why this is happening. Not even a mention of it anywhere.

So then we get…an overly long sequence of the father walking around at night while the camera zooms in on random objects like weird green piggy banks that I guess every suburban family has. Must have missed that trend!

Eugh. That's absolutely creepy. I wouldn't want to see this thing looking at me in the dark...

What do you think the idea behind this was? “Man, we really need to waste some more time and visually rape our audience some more! How about we just put in random, drawn out shots of goofy things that won’t make sense to anyone? Yeah, that’ll work. They’ll be so sleepy by the end of this scene, they’ll stay for the whole rest of the movie!”

My sentiments exactly.

My God this is torture! It’s like having acid poured over my brain! This whole pointless sequence seriously just keeps dragging on and on, like they physically want to hurt their viewers!

Okay, okay, it’s over…so, movie, pray tell. What’s next, a scene where the dad is driving home and sees all the bad guys through the windows of their van, in the middle of the day, on the side of an average suburban street, making up more conspiracies? No, even this movie wouldn’t be that stupid—

FGDSGFJSHG...*brain explodes*

HOLY HELL! What, was the side of that populated, normal street REALLY the best place for them to congregate? They couldn’t wait until nighttime to do it? Why am I even questioning this crap? Clearly it wasn’t written by anyone with the right amount of chromosomes! Ugh, screw it; moving on…

Nat, for no reason at all, stabs his mother as she’s lying immobile in bed still. Is he possessed? Is he trying to get rid of the baby inside her like in the Omen movies? No idea…it’s never explained. This whole plot is just weird. We have apparently two different groups trying to get their hands on this kid, one of whom is trying to kill him and the other trying to protect him, but neither one seems to have a reason, and it’s pretty lopsided, too – the side trying to kill him seems to just be the crazy old lady with no acting coach! What, did they just not have enough money to hire more actors to help her? I probably shouldn’t even joke about that, actually…it’s probably true.

"I WILL WIN AN OSCAAAAAAR! This is my last chance in the movie!"

So yeah, then we learn that although the mom was lying around drugged the entire movie before this, it’s getting stabbed that finally gives her the power to sit up straight again…nope, not gonna question it; I want to get this over with. Makes sense to me!

There’s some other stuff that happens, with some silly satanic ritual that’s more like something you’d see in a Scooby Doo cartoon or something. The father saves Nat from being killed by the old witch lady, only for Nat to go up and kill the mother…for some reason…and then the father kills the housekeeper and goes into the shed to kill his own son while the town cheers him on. The whole thing is played up in an Omen-esque fashion like killing Nat will save the world – but none of it is explained! So what am I supposed to gain from it? There was no story! This was an affront to all of my senses!

Yup, it ends with the main character being arrested, by possibly the slowest moving police officer ever - he seriously takes like a whole minute to put the handcuffs on this guy. Does he just have arthritis? And oh yeah, real peachy ending, too. What was I supposed to learn from this again?

Yeah, I didn’t like this one. I mean WOW, this was awful. I didn't even come close to covering everything wrong with this; I had to skip large sections of it just to condense this into a readable-length review for the site. There's a ton of other shit I didn't even mention that's wrong with this. Everything about it was horrendous; from the Z-list acting to the lighting which looked like it was out of a 1970s sitcom to the wretched formless mass that was the ‘story.’ Nothing worked! How did anyone ever look at this and feel any kind of pride? How does The Asylum look at any of their productions and feel anything but sickened self-loathing?

Personally, I find The Asylum’s approach to filmmaking to be incredibly insulting. Their professed intent to ‘tell stories’ (haha) doesn’t matter at all if what they're producing is so obviously lacking effort! If you’re not going to try a little, I think it’s safe to say your services are no longer of use to us, The Asylum. I declare this movie a complete abomination upon everything good about humankind and art! What a wretched piece of hack-work. Avoid, avoid, avoid!