Monday, 7 July 2014
Don't Look In The Basement (1973)
Also (though less widely) known as The Forgotten, this ultra-cheap indie horror film suffers from that common affliction of ultra-cheap indie horror films: one moderately good idea does not a movie script make. You might work a 20 minute short out of it, but that still leaves 60 minutes of your feature to fill up, somehow.
And to be honest, the one moderately good idea in this film isn't a very original one. The movie just does a good job of setting it up. It's actually surprisingly effective, and I am left a little disappointed that the film's good elements - the execution of that idea, and the solid soundtrack - are so poorly supported by the rest of the script.
I mean, I can handle the uneven acting. That's par for the course in cheapo-land. And I can overlook the role that was included solely to squeeze some naked bosoms into the film. That's how you get your movie into the Drive-Ins in the 70s (and this film as apparently a widely distributed Drive-In movie, often playing in a double feature with Last House on the Left). It's the scene after scene of repetitive, uninteresting 'creepiness' that irks me. "Hey look! This is creepy and weird, right? And this too! And this!"
Well, no movie. Not really. Mostly it's just tedious. Maybe if the creepy and weird was a lot more subtle and a less frequent early on, then a growing sense of unease might have been created. Instead you get a situation where ten minutes in you're asking "why would anyone stay here? It's clearly unsafe."
So overall: mehness. I was bored for most of the film, perking up only when the one decent idea had its reveal, because the execution was well done. Then I was bored again for the interminable ending.
You can avoid this one.