Nine people are kidnapped and imprisoned inside a huge mansion. A voice informs them that only one of them will leave this place alive. That person will win five million dollars. But meanwhile, the owner of the voice will enjoy watching them kill each other. Present are a young dancer, a priest (Dennis Hopper, of all people), a cynical French music composer and his wife, a gay fashion designer, a runaway, a glamorous former tennis star, a cop, and a resentful rapper. The mix gets volatile ri…ht away, and their captor is in for plenty of entertainment via his innumerable cameras.
A lethal variation on reality TV shows like Big Brother, this is hardly the first horror film to use that idea (My Little Eye for instance). There are problems, notably Dennis Hopper’s wildly fluctuating accent (sometimes Irish, sometimes not). There isn’t much to like about most of the characters, so their demises aren’t terribly upsetting. Default heroine Kelly Brook (the dancer) spends so much of the film sobbing that one begins to root for the merciless composer. But the pace is good, and there are a couple of surprises in the script. Without wanting to give anything away, I will say that the film appears to do something quite radical at one moment, then disappointingly backs off toward the conventional, only before redeeming itself at the conclusion. Taut and dark, this worth seeing.
Now that’s one hell of a bass. It makes its presence known from the opening seconds of the film, but starts kicking serious sub-woofer butt during the sequence in which a hip hop song is played on the house stereo. Watch your volume control for that one. The music is spectacular, with very spooky echoes reverberating around the room. Diegetic elements have minimal surround presence, but that is not a flaw in sound design or recording: the film is driven largely dialogue between nine people, and there aren’t a lot of opportunities for immersive sound effects. That said, various sound cues crop up from all sides to goose the audience. The dialogue is clear enough, but is sometimes a bit muzzy, detracting from an otherwise superior audio track.
The image is extremely sharp (every pore on the taut faces is visible). The colours are cold but very strong. The blacks are superb. One or two shots are a bit grainy, but there is no grain to be seen otherwise. No problems either with edge enhancement. This is a bleak, frigid-looking film (which is very appropriate), but the transfer is a very solid one.
None except the trailer plus three others. These must be seen to be believed, especially the on for the Dolph Lundgren (remember him?) vehicle The Defender. Jerry Spring as the President of the United States. Yup. You read that right. The main screen of the menu is animated and scored.
Nothing revolutionary going on here, but this is a pretty efficient little slice of nasty human nature.
Special Features List