As 11th Hour Cleaning opens a bloodied man (Dave Baez, Critical Thinking, Level 26: Dark Revelations) insists he didn’t kill his family before the camera pulls away and we hear something. We can’t see it but it doesn’t sound good.
In the wake of this, the police call in Dylan (Edward Finlay, A Tale of Two Guns, Hellblazers) and his company 11th Hour Cleaning, specialists in crime scene cleanup. It seems before killing himself Stephen killed his wife, two kids and his mother-in-law, the place needs cleaning up and they’re willing to pay rush charges to get it done immediately. Seeing not only a big payday but a way out of another argument over starting a family with his wife Rachel (Anita Leeman Torres, The Legend of Fall Creek, Speed Kills).
He tells her and her brother Marcus (Ed Morrone, Hunters, Final Kill) who’s just made parole, to get ready. The only problem is, it’s the holidays and the only other person he can reach is Hannah (Chloe Brooks, Blackout, Rapid Eye Movement). She and Marcus were together until he got arrested and there’s still some very bad blood between them.
Director Ty Leisher co-wrote the script with Ed Morrone from a story by Eric R. Brodeur who is better known as an editor on films like The Nun, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Haunting of the Mary Celeste. Even before the crew reaches the house, they’ve loaded the story up with potential conflicts. And the fact that Dylan doesn’t tell Hannah or Marcus that the other will be there primes the conflict for ignition.
Once they get to the house it doesn’t take long for things to go sideways. The cops have already searched the house and removed the bodies, but somehow they missed Stephen’s cell phone which starts showing videos all by itself. That’s when they find that the house won’t let them leave. Could that have something to do with all the Nordic runes in the house?
11th Hour Cleaning is one of the few times I wish a film had taken a bit longer to get going. The house, dark and full of bloody messes, is inherently creepy. Taking a few minutes to build up an atmosphere of dread would have helped the film considerably. But with a relatively short seventy-one minutes, I suppose they felt they had to get right to the good stuff.
Unfortunately, the good stuff isn’t all that good. The runes and the whole Nordic demon angle are underplayed and could have been any generic evil spirit. Instead, we get the usual phones not working, or getting calls with strange voices and noises. The demon plays off of their fears and doubts to terrorize them and drive them mad. Granted with this crew there’s plenty to exploit, but 11th Hour Cleaning doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen before.
11th Hour Cleaning comes up with some good ideas and then fails to use them. The crime scene cleanup angle is simply a reason for them to be in the house. The demon is said to be Nordic, but as I mentioned it plays no part in the plot. It could have been any creature or artifact. Even the cleanup crew’s dark secrets are nothing new.
Apart from a slit throat, there isn’t much in the way of effects to distract the viewer either. The demon is made out of CGI smoke with glowing eyes, and the CGI of a character being tossed out of a window is incredibly awful. Despite an interesting premise, the best thing I can say about 11th Hour Cleaning is that it actually only runs sixty-four minutes with seven minutes of end credits.