Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blackout (2007)

Fear 0/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 1/5
Creepiness 0/5

A film that's becoming known as that other horror movie set in a stuck elevator (even though it came out a couple years before Devil), Blackout seems like one destined for greatness: a trio of folks are trapped in an elevator, one of which happens to be a serial killer who needs to get to his apartment in time to clean up a 'mess' before a court ordered child protective services rep. gets to it with his young daughter in tow. The insanely glaring problem? From the word go, there is no suspense as to who the killer is. No red herrings. No second guessing. No slight of hand. It's this main character as suspect numero uno and no one else. Really, I'm not spoiling the film by saying he's the killer from the word 'go.' It's that front and center.

The opening to our film sees our killer looking over the body of a dead woman in a bath tub, blood dripping from her hands. After a monologue about life, death and fate, we see our killer next in a graveyard with his young daughter, talking to and leaving flowers at the gravesite of his wife. Immediately, you are drawn to him as a potential suspect but you think 'No, it can't be. The proceedings are way too early going for this to be THE guy.'

We are then introduced to our two other eventual captives: a college age girl and a rebel type, motorcycle riding guy. If either of these two people have any intention to throw us off the scent, they fail on every level imaginable. The girl is hardly threatening. We find that she is set to lose her grandmother after she was struck by a car earlier that morning while walking. She wants to get to her apartment to snag a photo that holds sentimental value so she can die bedside with it. The guy, even though a tough looking dude, is seeking to runaway with his girlfriend who takes a lot of abuse from her alcoholic father. Scruffy in appearance but hardly the serial killer type.

So our three converge in the apartment building elevator and as it ascends, a blockwide blackout occurs, trapping them in the elevator. Initially, cool heads are the order of the day. But quickly and inexplicably, things fly off the rails as our serial killer guy (his words and actions only amplifying the fact that this is the guy) goes all cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and becomes violent and threatens the girl sexually. To further make sure there is absolutely no doubt in our minds as to the fact that this is the killer (if by some reason you are just incredibly retarded), we see flashbacks of him in night clubs, snapping pictures of women, seducing them, and taking him back to his apartment where he then kills them.

Before this over revelation actually occurs, you've already been taken out of the film. It's boring, uninteresting and completely devoid of any suspense. It ends in somewhat spectacular fashion as our killer meets a grisly demise (the best part of the film). But even then, you just shrug your shoulders as the film itself has not a leg to stand on.

I don't know what compelled the filmmakers to reveal so much early on or not make any attempt to build actual suspense and intrigue. By not doing so, it simply crushes the film from the starting gate and as such, is a completely dull and boring affair. And the dialogue spouted by the killer was equally irritating. It's like a book was checked out at the library entitled 'Bad Guy Quotes For Dummies' and that's what the script writer chose to go off of. Avoid this time waste at all costs.

Cortez the Killer


Emily said...

I caught this over the summer back when it was on Instant Watch--a place it belongs. It's not the worst direct-to-DVD film I've seen since the performances are at least decent, but yes...HUGE wasted opportunity from page 1 of the script. And while I love the main actor's work on The Wire, he's so oddly miscast here. Rapists are bad and all, but not so scary when pocket-sized and it's two-against-one.

Cortez The Killer said...

@Emily, exactly. I don't think I've ever seen a horror film take a nose dive so early going. And its definitely not the worst I just think it criminally handicapped itself.

Pocket sized, eh? I thought you were against the discrimination of the vertically challenged? ;)