I have always enjoyed movies that take you places that you don’t expect. I appreciate films that start you in one place and take you around the woods so many times, you have lost track of your breadcrumbs long ago. Movies like Identity, Secret Window and anything M. Night Shyamalan have always held a special place for me. THE BASEMENT is one of those movies, but did it stand eye to eye with its predecessors?
THE BASEMENT was written by Brian M. Conley and Sean Decker and directed by Conley alongside Nathan Ives. It stars Mischa Barton as Kelly Owen, Cayleb Long as Craig Owen, Jackson Davis as Bill Anderson Bailey Ann Borders as Bianca and features an appearance by Tracie Thoms who you may recognize as the bad ass lady driver from Deathproof.
There is a serial killer doing business around L.A. and it would seem its Craig’s unlucky day when he gets picked up by the creepiest of vans while on a completely necessary champagne run for his wife, Kelly. It’s then that his captor starts playing games with him by acting out important scenes and events from his life and ultimate imprisonment, but nothing is as it seems and you find yourself questioning everything the longer the film goes on.
It’s blatantly apparent who the real star of THE BASEMENT is pretty early in. Jackson Davis is outstanding in his performance, or should I say performances. I haven’t seen character changes like that since I saw the one man stage show, The Haint. Each character was different and pretty believable, especially the female ones (not visually of course). His body language, speech and expressions change with each scene that he walks down the basement stairs into.
While Cayleb Long starts out stiff and unlikeable, he slowly changes into more subtle behaviors that make his character truly life-like and sympathetic. Barton, however, could have been replaced by a 2×4 in a wig most scenes and I’m not sure anyone would have noticed the recasting, which is a shame considering her and Thoms were the big ticket names on the docket and it seems she’s coasting on that fact.
Overall, the film is really well done. I do have a complaint to throw in there: the ending. While the story is actually really pretty good, the ending effects are atrocious. What is done in CGI could have been done with more practical effects and may have looked better. I’m no expert by any means, but sometimes CGI isn’t always better.
I do recommend this movie, if anything for Davis displaying his acting chops for all to see. THE BASEMENT will receive a ten theater release and full digital release September 15th. If you can, it is definitely worth the hour and a half of your time.