Oct 5, 2014

Review: 11-11-11 (2011)

Darren Lynn Bousman is a long-time veteran of the Saw series. From Saw II to Saw IV, he was at the helm. With 11-11-11, he goes from the gorno genre into the biblical horror genre which I think we can all agree is a pretty big shift. The big goal he has now is to create some real scares without the use of any kind of gore-tactics. 

11-11-11 sounds pretty cheap right off the bat though. Released on November 11th, 2011, its title refers to some big scary thing happening on that day. This is completely Bousman's movie as he also wrote the script, so I was all the same curious to see what he'd been able to come up with. It wasn't a movie he was able to get distributed very widely in North America unfortunately, mostly having to settle with foreign releases. I remember seeing 11-11-11 posters here in the Montreal subway system at the time though, so I guess we had one of the 17 domestic theatres in town which is pretty cool I guess.


Genre: horror, thriller
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Produced by: Richard Heller, Valeria Marini, Christian Molina, etc.
Written by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Music by: Joseph Bishara
Running time: 93 minutes
Production company: Canonigo Films, Black Flag, Capacity Pictures, etc.
Distributed by: Epic Pictures Group, Big Air Studios, Energía Entusiasta, etc.
Country: United States, Spain
Language: English, Spanish
Budget: N/A
Box office: $5,739,384 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, Wendy Glenn, Benjamin Cook, Lolo Herrero, Salomé Jiménez, Brendan Price, Denis Rafter, Ángela Rosal, Lluís Soler


Writer Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs) has a dream depicting the deaths of his wife and son in a house fire. Their deaths still haunt him as he attends a support group. After leaving, he's approached by fellow group member Sadie (Wendy Glenn) who offers her support. Seconds later Joseph has a car crash but comes out unscathed. He then gets a phone call from his brother Samuel (Michael Landes) about their father who has fallen ill and is most likely dying. At about this time, Joseph starts seeing the number 11:11 everywhere and it can't just be coincidence. 


Let's talk first about the most important thing, the scares. Is 11-11-11 scary? Not in the least. For a movie that was clearly rushed to make it for its 11-11-11 release, that's not really a surprise. There's a couple of bad jump scares that try to drum up some surprise with heavy-handed music and some creepy chanting as well as many times where our main character Joseph will be doing his thing while something will pop up unseen except for by the viewer. 11-11-11 ends up feeling painfully repetitive instead of properly building itself up, not to mention devoid of any real scares.

Some time before the finale is where I sort of see what could have been. The movie is set a bit before November 11th, 2011 and the days progress until that point. More and more spooky stuff keeps happening until the day where all hell should break loose, but the script completely fails at properly building anything up. It's not like the climax is all that scary either unfortunately. (Spoilers) This is also where we see the awful costume design of the "angels" that end up looking like the rubber mask wearing actors that they are. (End Spoilers) Also, instead of really causing any actual shock or any sort of chilling effects, the ending is more like a, "Oh, OK" kind of ending. I doubt that was what Bousman intended to happen.

The setting of 11-11-11 is in a creepy priest's house in Barcelona by the sea. There are some weak attempts at actually making it creepy but nothing really solid. We're just meant to assume that it's a creepy house I guess. The house is dimly lit without any real reason and nothing is really done to take advantage of the location. I'm not asking for a house like in The Shining or anything but a little more effort would've gone a long way.

The acting in this movie is also nothing to write home about. Dialogue is pretty basic and flat overall and there are some bad attempts at making certain characters unsettling that don't quite work out. Some of this is the direction but I'm sure some of it is also because of the limitations of the actors involved.

Riddled with annoying flashbacks and propped up with loud music and chanting every time you should be scared, 11-11-11 doesn't cut it as a horror movie. It's like Darren Lynn Bousman is treating you like a viewer watching a crappy sitcom with an aggressive laugh track. The movie is also poorly built up when it clearly could've been done way better in that sense. If things were to actually get scarier and scarier as 11-11-11 approached, this would've been half a movie. It would just need a better ending still.



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