Starring: Famke Janssen, Bobby Cannavale, Ed Westwick, Mike Pare
Rating: 8.5 / 10
ARROW FULL DISCLOSURE: 100 FEET was initially not gonna be reviewed on AITH for obvious reasons. 1- I'm in it as an actor and director Eric Red is a close friend of mine. My motto has always been; if I can't be 100% objective review wise- I don't review it. But when our DVD PUB reviewer Dave Murray e-mailed me to let me know he had seen the film, I asked him to write a review for the site in the name of keeping up to date content wise. Dave doesn't know Eric Red and had no involvement in the production. Here's his review.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT: Convicted of murdering her abusive cop husband, Marnie is confined to house arrest after doing her time. But the house she once called home contains a powerful force bent on her destruction, and the only man that can help her is her dead husbandís loyal old partner. Not exactly what they had in mind when they thought up prisoner rehabilitation now is it?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE:
I came into 100 FEET with absolutely zero expectations, other than to be entertained. Iím a big fan of a lot of the folks involved, from writer/director Eric Red (Iím still digging The Hitcher and Near Dark) all the way to the simultaneously smokiní hot and insanely talented Famke Janssen. I knew from tidbits of news pieces here and there that this was a good, old school ghost story, and since it was neither a remake nor a sequel to a remake, I was excited. But I had no idea what to expect, which is probably the best frame of mind with which to watch a horror movie. I had a feeling that it was going to be good, but I was tickled blood red to find out that it was awesome, tense and just downright creepy as hell.
First up, directing. Red has an eye for moody shots, and the way the flick looks is what gives it about half of its atmospheric balls. From the somber opening sequence, to the candle lit shadows of the seriously creepy house, even to the stark daylight thatís used to highlight some of the ghostís daytime dish juggling, the lighting and the mood of the scene fit the tone of the story perfectly, often with unsettling results. I am now officially in love with cinematographer Ken Kelschís style. As for the writing, Eric Red excels again here, with a tight and smart script that stays true to its rules and pulls out some nasty abuse on poor Marnie.
This movie has a serious good flow, narrative wise, not requiring any huge leaps of logic or massive suspension of disbelief. It was a simple, small scale story, one that was effectively told through deft writing and some really good editing. All of this was backed up by some stellar ghost effects, some nasty gore bits, and an overall pervasive mood of ghostly fu*kery most foul. Around every corner, in every poorly lit scene, you just knew that really bad shit was going to happen. I loved the way the ghost looked like an oil painting on thin air, and the nasty beating that he dished out on one unlucky dude was truly an impressive spot of effects work (that dislocated jaw, guys, that was just so wrong in all the right ways!). Physically, the movie kicked my disturbed ass and still had me smiling.
More so than the actual physicals of the film, the acting had me sold from the first line of dialogue. Janssen held her own in a script that had her acting by herself for the majority of the picture. Think kind of like I Am Legend, but with a ghost instead of crappy CGI monsters, mixed with a ton of ghostly stuff echoing classics like The Entity or Poltergeist. There was even some of the understated tension that George C. Scott emanated in The Changeling in some of Janssenís scenes. She was believable, credible and certainly never dull. Backing her up was an entertaining supporting cast, highlighted by the intense hatred and righteousness of Bobby Cannavale as the ghostís former partner. Heís almost one big scowl through half of his scenes, and itís obvious he carries the whole ďpolice brotherĒ mentality a little too far.
Ed Westwick was a nice addition as the poor young guy who learns itís never a good idea to bone the ex-wife of a vengeful spirit! Rounding out this man laden supporting cast is The Arrow himself, John Fallon, in a short but certainly memorable role
as Jimmy the Lojack guy. Trust me, Iím not sucking up to anyone at this site when I tell ya that this dude should be in more movies. Yeah, heís got that quality and no small amount of talent as well.
And what was up with that priest, huh? Sorry lady, Iím not going to bless your super creepy house for you, but while you kneel there crying, Iíll gladly take the thousands of dollars you just offered to the church. Thatís just harsh! Christians, I tell ya!
On the downside, the flickering candlelight tried really hard to give me a seizure or three, and the ghost showed up a little too early for my tastes. It was almost like there was no buildup of tension before flinging the full bore floating dead in our faces, but the amped amount of tension and the unpredictable nature of this ghost made up for the early appearance in no time at all. As such, these are two minor personal gripes with what was otherwise a fun, spooky and engaging film that managed to take what it had and give us more than ten big budget Lionsgate or Weinstein type Hollywood horror movies. Great job, guys, seriously. After all of the crap that has come out lately, I sure needed that. LAST CALL: With a tight script, spooky visual style, creepy effects and a mucho talented cast, 100 Feet was a welcome surprise. Thanks for that, Mr. Red. I can sleep a little easier tonight knowing that someone can still scare me to death.