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If the predictions explored in low-wattage horror pic 11-11-11 come true, the date will bring a visitation of supernatural beings with malevolent intent to the material world. After multiple Saw franchise releases, writer-director Darren Lynn Bousman goes it alone for 11-11-11, with at best tepid results elaborating an unconvincing premise. Audiences will be limited to the devoutly superstitious and loyal genre fans.
Successful author Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs) is haunted by the deaths of his wife and young son in a fire that burned down their home — replayed in frequent and increasingly unconvincing nightmares and flashbacks. His visits to a support group for people grieving over various personal tragedies does little to alleviate his depression and or restore his Christian faith, shattered by his loss. An impending sense of doom portended by frequent sightings of numerical combinations of the number one, predominantly at 11:11 a.m. or p.m., are also setting him on edge. An unwelcome call from his estranged, wheelchair-bound younger brother Samuel (Michael Landes) with the news that their father (Denis Rafter) is dying forces him to return to the family home near Barcelona on Nov. 7, 2011.
Joseph’s loss of faith is thrown into sharp relief in proximity to his father and brother, who are both ministers who have lost most of their parishioners due to some unorthodox interpretations of the Bible. Of more immediate concern, however, are ghostly apparitions showing up at 11:11 p.m. outside their house, captured on video cameras that monitor the property. Threatening local residents, Internet research on the numerology of the number 11 and visits to an occult bookstore raise the quotient of ominous signs, leading Joseph to fear for his sanity, convinced that some evil force is coming after him and his brother as the days tick toward 11-11-11.
Hampered by a garbled mashup of Christianity, occult beliefs and numerology, Bousman’s screenplay never gains momentum, due to its episodic structure, clichéd plot developments and consistently stiff, generic performances. No attempt is made to mine the deep vein of Christian belief in Spain, a setting that’s tossed off with little regard for visual or narrative potential. Bousman opts for playing it cool with the overheated script, bathing dimly lit scenes in chilly blue tones while leveraging distinctly low-grade visual effects for most of the horror elements, but evincing few other stylistic distinctions.
Whether surrounded by superstition or just the victim of urban legend, 11-11-11 is likely to prove equally as uneventful as Bousman’s unremarkable film.
Opens: Nov. 11 (Epic Pictures Group)
Production companies: Canónigo Films, Capacity Pictures, Epic Pictures Group
Cast: Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, Denis Rafter, Wendy Glenn
Director-screenwriter: Darren Lynn Bousman
Producers: Wayne Rice, Richard Heller, Lois Curci, Christian Molina
Executive producers: Patrick Ewald, Marivi de Villanueva,Carlos Gari, Shaked Berenson
Director of photography: Joseph White
Music: Joseph Bishara
Production designer: Mani Martínez
Editor: Martin Hunter
Rated PG-13, 82 minutes
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