Sunday, 3 May 2009

No. 116 : Walled In

Here’s a nice happy tale that opens with a small child waking in a confined space before being drowned in concrete. Lovely, heart warming stuff. The credits follow straight away and by using a familiar montage of newspaper cuttings we learn that a serial killer is at large after killing 16 people by, you’ve guessed it, walling them in.

We cut to 15 years later and a pretty young demolition expert (is there any other kind?) gets the offer of a partnership in the family firm if she can raze a building that we know but she doesn’t was the walling in house. Strange that such an infamous case passed her by, but pretty soon she’s on site taking notes and readying the place for demolition. Here she meets the widow of one of the victims who now acts as caretaker and her troubled son, the creepy kid out of ‘Birth’.

We learn that the ugly building in the middle of nowhere has 200 apartments, four of which are still occupied. The eighth floor where the murders took place is out of bounds as is the roof, so no guesses where the next ports of call are. The boy takes a shine to our demolition specialist and he grants her access to various secret passages and steals her books from a cranky old woman which once belonged the building’s now presumed dead creator.

As she completes her survey she finds that a lot of space is missing and learns that a central area has been secretly sealed off for dubious purposes. With her anonymous boyfriend now on the scene the pair resolve to find out the secrets of the building and of the murders which may not be as solved as we were lead to believe.

I enjoyed the first hour of this film but my interest quickly waned when the boy friend appeared and the ‘surprise’ was revealed. To be honest when the flying headline said ‘Architect Dead; Factory Worker Suspected and On Run’ I though ‘hmm wonder if he faked it’. I won’t give the shock away, but he did.

The building was well realised and it was a bit like the Architectural Digest version of the ‘Saw’ films. It did however lack the inventiveness of that franchise and for the last half hour it looked like it was being made up on the hoof. The dead eyed boy was an obvious candidate for the crimes but I certainly didn’t forsee the unbelievable contents of the pit or the mad ramblings of its inhabitant.

There were a couple of decent bits but points were lost for the dreaded shock - it’s a dream - shock - oh wait it’s a dream within a dream - wake up. Fool me once shame on me fool me twice get a new cliché. Mischa Barton was OK in the lead but not entirely convincing as a demolition expert given her ‘The O.C’ credentials. She was certainly better than the boyfriend who may as well have has a black spot on his head when he showed up although he did last two minutes longer than I expected.

All in all it’s a pretty competently made thriller but it lacked any real horror, shocks or suspense; so unless you are walled into a small space yourself with only this DVD for company, I wouldn’t bother.

Best Bit : Bath Time

‘W’ Rating 11/23

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