When I read the DVD cover and saw “from the director of Saw II, III & IV” I didn’t hold much hope. However a quick imdb search informed me that Darren Lynn Bousman also directed Repo: The Genetic Opera, which was acutally very original, and I got a little more excited. However, as I watched 11-11-11, which is an original story by Bousman, I just got really bored.
The film follows Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs), a famous author who has been stricken the worst of luck. A rabid fan, inspired by one of Crone’s books, burnt down his house killing his wife and kid. While grieving from that he is in a horrible car accident and is lucky to be alive. The next day his estranged brother, Samuel (Michael Landes), from Spain calls and says their father is dying. So Crone goes to Spain where things really get crazy.
While there Crone, an avid atheist, starts to realize that the number 11 has been following him his whole life. Every horrible event in his life has taken place on November 11th or at 11:11 AM or PM. All sorts of spooky things start to happen as Crone attempts to unravel the mystery that may save both his and his brothers lives.
This is one of the blandest films I’ve seen in a while. I found it hard to get interested or care about any of these characters and all the so-called “spooky” moments just left me yawning instead of jumping.
The acting throughout the film is very flat, but it seems to be more a reflection of the uninspired dialog than it does the actors performances. They just aren’t given a lot to work with. And while the film does have a twist, there is so little investment in the film that when it comes you’ll think, “meh.” I even kind of figured it out pretty early on. This is certainly a slow build film, which I more often than not love, but when you can’t get into the story or the characters the slow build doesn’t work and the pay off is not satisfying.
Bousman gave us a very original and interesting film with Repo and it had a great visual style. Sadly, he was unable to bring that visual style to his own story. It’s only during the climactic scene do we get a visual glimpse of the man who gave us Repo. I appreciate that he went in a completely different direction after three Saw films, sadly it just didn’t work.
The film is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen format and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround. The film looks fine. It’s certainly a well produced film.
Making of: (25 min.) In this Bousman says it’s his homage to films like Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant and Ninth Gate which are all far and away a better use of your time. Still, this is one of those making of’s that makes me feel a little guilty for not liking the film. Such is life. Also, the portion of this that talks about how the house where they shot was haunted was the most interesting thing on this whole DVD. Deleted Scenes: (4 min.) Nothing too exciting or revealing here. Commentary with the director and producer: Like the Making of, this makes you want to like the film. Bousman is a very energetic guy who keeps the commentary very lively. He actually shares some interesting stories about the making of the film. I think I can even say this commentary is better than the film, which is truly rare.
All while watching this film I just kept thinking about the Jim Carrey film The Number 23, which is one of the last films one ever wants to be reminded about. I feel like if you’re looking for a spiritual thriller, you’re much better off looking at those that inspired this.
Epic Pictures presents 11-11-11. Written and directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman. Starring: Timothy Gibbs and Michael Landes. Running time: 82 min. Rating: PG-13 for violence/terror, some disturbing images and thematic material. Released: April, 24 2012. Available at Amazon.com.