Movie Review: The Basement (2018)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2018 thriller starring Mischa Barton and Cayleb Long.

Synopsis: Craig Owen, a successful musician and unfaithful husband, drives to a convenience store and is abducted by a notorious Los Angeles serial killer known for using a blow torch to decapitate his victims. Tied to a chair in the killer's basement, Craig is subjected to torture as the killer, wearing a series of costumes, forces him to stand trial and be punished for the murders his captor committed.

Review

I have been having a hard time picking out horror movies lately because, at least from the descriptions, they all seem to have plots that are similar to dozens of other films I've already seen.

I wound up picking out this film a couple days ago for that very reason. I had some doubts about it. But, at minimum, it seemed like it would at least be somewhat unique. As it turns out, it actually surprised me a bit.

The thing that really won me over when it came to this film had to be Jackson Davis' performance as the "Gemini" serial killer Bill Anderson. I'm not sure if he had a split personality or was just playing a bunch of characters to make his torture much more fun. But, it gave this movie something that was unusual and fun to watch. By pretending Craig (Long) was the one who was committing the murders, we were able to get a glimpse both at how Bill became the man he is and how he seemingly thinks his life will ultimately end.

For his part, I also thought Long did a good job in his role. I don't think I could honestly compare the two characters and say Craig and Bill were evenly matched. But, Long was believable enough and Craig was a strong enough victim to at least put his ultimate fate in doubt. As I've said plenty of times before, horror movies are considerably better when the victims stand up for themselves.

Unfortunately, I just found I wasn't as interested in the interaction between Craig's wife (Barton) and her best friend/his secret lover (Borders). Even though the movie did manage some sort of tie-in at the very end, the almost comedic tone just didn't seem to fit in with the otherwise dark plot.

It was as though the filmmakers realized they paid a premium to get her and had to find a way to justify the cost by giving her extra screen time. This, of course, raises a question as to why she wasn't the one in the basement with Bill rather than the lesser-known Long, especially since there was nothing about this film that would have required Bill's victim to be male.

Final Opinion

I think Barton's star power was wasted but, overall, I do think this movie exceeded my expectations. It's a bit gory at times and definitely not for everyone. But, it's a decent-enough film if you're looking for something different to watch.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 04/16/2019, StevenHelmer
 
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