Girl in the Basement, The
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The Girl in the Basement is one of the simplest titles I have ever seen. I love it.
“What are you watching?”
“The girl in the basement.”
“What is it about?”
“A girl in a basement”
Brilliant! Originally titled Reindeer Games (which would have made the above conversation much longer) this movie is a slow character study of one man’s damaged psyche.
Alec (played impressively by writer Kyle Rankin) is a lonely dishwasher. His social skills are….lacking to say the least. The cute waitress Kate played (also played very well by Mary Skinner) accepts a date with Alec out of pity. It goes well enough, I guess for a pity date, but while most dates end in a drink and a possible nightcap, this ends with Alec smashing Kate’s face into the dashboard and locking her up in his basement. Hence, The Girl in the Basement. As the movie slowly moves on we learn more about Alec and his “issues”, and also a little about Kate.
This movie is a slow burn. While not boring, this movie is a slow moving character study. The one thing about a character study is the actors need to act. Luckily for the viewer, everyone in this film played their parts quite well, be it low budget or not.
Let’s talk about the characters now. Alec is a shy, oddball, and stays this way throughout the whole movie. This I liked. Even with Kate locked in the basement, he is shy, polite, and odd. Only at brief moments can he not control his neuroses, and a flash of the inner demons come out.
Kate on the other hand is not very likable. She is not the whimpering, crying, femme fatale that you would normally see in this type of movie. She is a conniving, verbally vile individual. In other words, a strong woman. Instead of pleading to be untied, she goads, and screams to be let go. I would like to think that this is exactly how a strong woman would act if put in her shoes. Hell, I would probably be whimpering and crying.
Even thought the movie is called The Girl in the Basement, she really is not the main character. The film revolves around Alec, and why he is what he is. The initial beating of Kate may sound brutal, but after it happens you see that Alec cannot control, nor understand, why it happened. It is almost like a spasm of insanity that hits him, and then brings him to his normal polite, weird self after. These fits of his all seem to stem from the creepy visions of a man dressed as Santa Claus. Who is this? Well, that explains why Alec is why he is.
The visions that he has are the most effective part of the movie. Brilliantly filmed in high speed fashion, these only lead to more questions until the final unveiling. In theory the reason he is what he is, is quite brutal and understandable. The problem is with how it was filmed. I didn’t feel the punch in the gut shock, or horror, that it should have been.
This movie is not really a horror movie. Do not go in thinking that this is Last House on the Left, because the brutality is not there. I am hesitant to even call this horror. Let’s call it a thriller. As a thriller, or a “talkie” it is good. As a horror movie, however, it is missing the brutality that the title, and synopsis should give. Overall this movie was quite the surprise. I did enjoy it, and recommend the rental strongly, and would not dissuade a purchase. I it very low budget, but impressive none the less.
While normally I never mention the extras. You may ask why I never do, and the answer is simple. If the movie is ass, then who cares about the further pain of documentaries? That is why. Here however I would like to make a comment on a special piece in memory of the departed Shayne Worchester. This was a touching series of home movies, interviews, and stills of the director who passed away. I mention this because it is a very touching piece. Hell, I have no clue who he was, but after watching that damn documentary, I was even sad with his passing. He seemed like a fun guy who really wanted to get this movie made, along with the rest of the crew, and it showed. The makers of that small little remembrance did a great job that I am sure he would have appreciated. Of course I can only guess.
Again, check this one out. This is a movie that took its tiny budget, and not only worked well in it, but exceeded at times. While it had it’s issues at times, it is still an easy 3 ½ cans.
Added: Monday, November 21, 2005
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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