Having caught a few reviews of Brian M. Conley and Nathan Ives’ film THE BASEMENT I was quite aware that it had a major twist at the end. One that caught plenty of reviewers by surprise. Much like THE SIXTH SENSE which like THE BASEMENT has Mischa Barton in the cast. Also like that film, I can’t believe everyone didn’t see it coming a mile away.
Rich musician Craig Owen (Cayleb Long ASCENT TO HELL) makes a run to the liquor store, (in a Lamborghini no less) at the request of his wife Kelly (Mischa Barton THE O.C., THE TOYBOX). However, he’s captured by The Gemini Killer (Jackson Davis DESERTED) and awakes to find himself tied up in a basement. Alone with just his captor’s multiple personalities for company. Can he exploit Gemini’s condition and escape or will he become victim number eight?
The plot’s similarities to another M. Night Shyamalan film, SPLIT are fairly obvious. Thankfully the film uses it as a jumping off point and manages to find its own identity. Much of this rests on the unique link between the personalities and some incredible acting from Davis and Long. It seems the killer is into role-playing. In this case acting out his own arrest, capture, and execution, with his victim playing him while he takes all the other roles. Davis is a chameleon, moving from personality to personality, never letting us see the actual Gemini. He displays an incredible range too, portraying, among others, a clown, a cop, his own mother and a priest.
As the tortured victim Long doesn’t get to be as flashy as Davis, but he’s quite convincing. Equally convincing is the abuse he suffers. THE BASEMENT isn’t a gorefest by any means but the violence there is nasty and realistically portrayed. The killer also has one of the more brutal methods of finishing off his victims I’ve seen lately, decapitation by blowtorch. That’s not a spoiler, we find out in the prologue. Despite being top billed and on the poster Barton is barely in this and really doesn’t have much to do except in the beginning and at the end.
Coming back to the film’s twist for a moment. I found it pretty obvious given a couple of plot points in the first act, but that might be a sign I watch too many of these films. Guessing it won’t ruin the film beyond spoiling what would be an “Oh shit!” minute at the end. I’m just surprised more people didn’t see it coming.
THE BASEMENT gets a 10-market theatrical and digital release on September 15 from Uncork’d Entertainment.