5 Reasons why you must see “Don’t Look in the Cellar”
By: Brian Cotnoir
The expression “A movie that’s so bad is good” is usually used to describe a film that’s so poorly made/acted/written etc., that it’s very funny. This expression applies most accurately to some types of Horror Films. Horror films like “Troll 2”, “Re-Animator”, “Feast”, “Bride of Chucky” are all films that film critics have ripped to death for being poorly made, but yet these films are absolutely beloved by so many people because they’re so bad. The film I’m reviewing today isn’t just so bad it’s good; it’s so bad that it is AMAZING. It has so many flaws, so many plot holes, and so many bad things that should’ve sent me into a blinding rage, that I found it impossible to not laugh hysterically the whole time I was watching it. People, after you read this review you have to go and watch Dennis Devine’s 2008 cine-massacre “Don’t Look in the Cellar”.
1.) The Mental Asylum is clearly somebody’s house
So the story opens up on Halloween night, and two college girls are dared to go into a Mental Asylum as part of a sorority initiation, and instructed to bring back the lock of a hair from a patient named Lendel. Only it’s not an actual Mental Asylum it is clearly somebody’s house. There’s still furniture in all the rooms, there’s a hardwood floor, and pictures hanging on the walls! How lazy can you be? If you can’t remove all the furniture and other fixtures from the shot for a day or two then how can you convince that audience that your place has been “abandoned” for over 10 years? Oh, and the “padded room” is just one room with a white tarp covering the walls. What’s even funnier is that the cast claim to be checking “different rooms”, but they are clearly just re-entering the exact same room! Dear God that is lazy! Also, I love how the cast tries pulling the push doors open, in order to pretend that they’re locked in the building. It just makes them seem more moronic than helpless.
2.) Plot Holes galore!
I have a theory about this film. I think the two people who wrote this screenplay just wrote a rough draft and submitted it because that’s the only way I can understand why this film has so many plot holes. Like these plot holes are even worse than the ones Ed Wood had in “Plan 9 from Outerspace”. So much of this story doesn’t make sense. Why would Professor Davis who already knows the hidden dangers of the Mental Asylum let her own students venture off there to face similar dangers? Why does the random Australian guy think that the abandoned mental asylum is the best place to look for his friend who wandered off? How come when we see Matt get stabbed in the stomach with a machete we see blood splattered on his face, but no blood coming through his stomach or even a puncture wound? How come the stories Wendel tells people don’t add up? There is just no continuity or actual effort being put into this film. Though I don’t think I should have expected any actual effort from the same director who gave us “Alice in Murderland”
3.) They actually try to include a PSA in the film
So there’s this one scene where all the classmates are at a pool party, and one of the b!tchy snobby girls refers to the main girl, Melissa, by the “r-word”, and then what follows is a 2-3 minute discussion on why you “shouldn’t use the r-word” when talking about people, and ultimately nothing get’s resolved because that girl is a stupid stuck up b!tch. Okay, I’m all for enlightening people on why they shouldn’t say the r-word, but this film is not the ideal place to have that discussion. I don’t think anyone watching this film has really taken a moment to reflect on that scene and say to themselves “you know what, they’re right. The R-word isn’t cool, and people should really never say it”. Call it a hunch. If you’re going to include a PSA in your film, make sure you’re film is actually worthy of including a PSA, otherwise you end up with a fail that’s almost as bad as when “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” tried to include a going green message.
4.) Hot Girls in Bikini’s who can’t act worth a d@mn
Yeah, you can’t argue with this incentive. It’s pretty awesome when most of your casts costuming consists of skimpy bikinis. Oh, and I promise you not one of them can act competently. There characters are all written to be perfectly generic. There’s the two b!tchy spoiled girls, the incredibly hot girl who everyone calls a “nerd” because she wears glasses and for no other reason, the douche bag who turns every comment from a girl into a sexual pun, the 4 generic filler friends, and the emotionally unstable basket case. Whoever was in charge of casting for this film, probably just went up to the hottest girls he could find and asked them if they wanted to be in a movie. One thing you’ll notice in this film is that whenever a character is talking on camera they are standing perfectly still and will rarely move. Especially, the actor who plays the mental patient, Wendel; every time he’s on camera he is just standing perfectly still with his shoulders tucked up to his neck and his eyes bulging out of his skull. I have a hard time believing he’s mentally ill, when doesn’t do anything neurotic and just sort of stands there with a catatonic stare on his face.
5.) This film (somehow) had a 1.2 Million Dollar Budget!
When I was watching this film and I saw how cheap and awful everything was, I was assuming that it must be because this film probably had a lousy budget. According to IMDB, “Don’t Look in the Cellar” was made for an estimated 1.2 million dollars. How the hell did this thing wind up costing over a million dollars? What did they buy the actual house that the film took place in and spent a small fortune to have it entirely furnished? Because that’s the only logical reason I can come up with for how this film could possibly cost that much to make. I mean the money sure as hell didn’t go towards decent cameras or special effects, big name (or competent) actors, or a realistic filming location. I’ve seen films made for 1/100 the budget of “Don’t Look in the Cellar” that were a thousand times better. I’m absolutely blown away that it cost that much money it cost to make this film.