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The Basement (2018)



A seemingly innocent man is abducted by a notorious L.A. serial killer, who forces his victims to role-play with him so that he can enact his capture, torture and murder fantasies.




Review

First off, this is not a Mischa Barton (Ouija House) film, no matter what the cover suggests. Used for obvious marketing reasons, she has little screen time in the actual film - perhaps 10 minutes? Writer / director team Brian M. Conley (Debut) and Nathan Ives (A Christmas in New York) have created a sort of mash between Split and Saw.

Musician Craig goes out in the late evening to pick up champagne when he is abducted by Gemini - a known serial killer in the city. What follows is the torture of Craig by Gemini, and his attempts to escape - with intersected short scenes of Mischa Barton as the panicking wife-at-home. The film is directed competently for what it is - functionally, it's a torture porn effort. The story is told well, and has a strong premise behind it, all the while being nothing we haven't seen before, but the narrative is fairly thinly spread over the runtime.




The two real leads of the piece come from Craig, played by Cayleb Long (Ascent to Hell) and Gemini, played by Jackson Davis (Deserted). Both put in a strong performance, but Davis excels as the villain of the work. Gemini - who goes under the name Bill Anderson - portrays multiple characters within the narrative. When Craig awakens in the titular basement, tied to a chair, Gemini is Billy the Clown. Then Billy leaves the Basement to return later as a police officer, at which point he projects Bill - Gemini - onto Craig.

As the film goes on, the gore comes out - and it's uncomfortable to watch, to say the least. The squick is there with dental and finger torture, just for starters.

One of the talking points that the film makers try to bring up, is the question of Gemini's mental state - is he toying with Craig, or does he suffer with a real disassociative identity disorder? The answer is in there, but you need to be paying attention.

While it could have been an excellent film, a few things just detract, and can be rather off-putting, for example, when Craig goes out to buy champagne, leaving his enormous mansion, in his Lamborghini, why does he go to some stank hole, and buy what looks like a cheap bottle of pee? My personal preference would also to have had a different ending - the twist feels like it's there for twists sake. And I'm getting a little sick of saying it: Stop putting half naked women in perilous situations for the sake of it. It's not titillating, it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

It's not a bad film by any stretch, but a little thinly plotted at times. The gore is there, although there is extended scenes of dialogue. It's a slow torture porn, with some good ideas, and worth watching.





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