Monday, April 11, 2022

The Cellar (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: The Cellar (2022)
Genre: Horror
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Epic Pictures, Hail Mary Pictures, Savage Productions, Wrong Men North, RLJE Films, Shudder, Wildcard Distribution, Front Row Filmed Entertainment
Director: Brendan Muldowney
Writer: Brendan Muldowney
Actors: Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken, Aaron Monaghan, Abby Fitz, Andrew Bennett, Chris McHallem, Dylan Fitzmaurice Brady, Marie Mullen, Michael-David McKernan, Seán Doyle, Steve Gunn, Tara Lee
IMDb Blurb: Keira Woods' daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new house. She soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family's souls forever.

Selina’s Point of View:
At the start of the film, The Cellar seemed like it would be a bit basic. Just about any haunted house-style flick could have started the exact same way. Many have.

I got excited when it seemed as though there might be a little something more underneath. What had originally felt like a paint-by-numbers horror suddenly seemed to be sliding down a mystery/thriller route. I was here for it. If it had kept going at that, I would have been much happier with the final product.

That said, it still wasn’t that bad.

The ending of the film was up my alley. It was foreboding. I’ve always been a fan of that kind of down ending. Even now when I tend to lean more towards escapism.

There were some unique puzzles, and the focus of the plot did stray from expectations a little. Some of that intrigue was lost on me because I can read a very little bit of Hebrew. As a result, I did see approximately where it was going. People without that ability might get sucked in a bit easier, though.
I do think that they did a great job by not showing too much of the creature involved. In fact, I wish they’d kept that up, even through the ending. Leaving that kind of thing up to the imagination brings tension up so much higher.

The Cellar wound up being an acceptable, if mostly ordinary, horror film. I wish it had taken some of the other roads I saw as options, but it’s still alright for casual viewing.

Cat’s Point of View:
One of the odd bits of knowledge not many realize about Louisiana is that basements, or cellars as the case may be for this movie, are extremely rare in residences. We’re so close to sea level and the water table is so high that it’s generally not structurally feasible without prohibitive expense.
That being said, I generally view these subterranean spaces with a mixture of awe and trepidation. They’re just foreign to me and only exist in large commercial buildings and places like my college campus. (That’s where the laundry room was in my dorm building. Fun, right? No. Scary.)
When I saw there was going to be a new horror movie with the title of The Cellar, I was already intrigued before I even saw the trailer. Sign me up.

I wasn’t entirely familiar with writer and director Brendan Muldowney’s (Savage, Love Eternal, Pilgrimage) work, however, I am a fan of Elisha Cuthbert (24, Goon: Last of the Enforcers, The Ranch) and Eoin Macken (The Forest, Nightflyers, La Brea) so The Cellar already had something going in its favor. When you add in the Ireland setting, that was just icing on the cake.
The fastest way to harness my rapt attention is to speak to me in any sort of Gaelic accent. I digress.
Trailers all too often give away too much these days. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. I’m on the fence about whether or not that happened with The Cellar. The sneak peek reveals quite a bit but without all of the context so the viewer might not realize. I suppose it would give a decent litmus test as to whether or not someone might enjoy the production, itself. If you watch and like the trailer – you might just like the expanded version of the story. The opposite could also be true.

I loved the eerie and suspenseful atmosphere that built within The Cellar. The background score wove me into each scene with a tapestry of sound. There was even a piece of music during the end credits that will haunt me much like some of the soundtrack from The Omen (1976) franchise.
The house used as the primary setting was also fascinating, and I really enjoyed how it played a part in the larger story. I’ve always been enamored of hidden rooms and secret passages within houses like that.
There are a few of the usual tropes one would expect from a movie such as The Cellar, but they weren’t over-used. The jump-scares were even kept to a minimum. I was also a fan of the fact that they didn’t shy away from technology or modern concepts such as social media.

At the same time, The Cellar didn’t dive too far down the rabbit hole. The story remained focused so that it didn’t have loose ends lying about when the credits rolled. I didn’t see that ending coming. That was a pleasant, if unsettling, surprise.
Overall, The Cellar met my expectations for this flavor of horror movie.
The Cellar will release to theaters as well as streaming on Shudder starting Friday, April 15th.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 32%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.1/10
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – PG-13
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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