Friday, October 12, 2012
11-11-11: The Prophecy
I kind of have a soft spot for Darren Lynn Bousman, who represents much of what I hate about modern horror, yet does it in a way I find charming. Saws 2 though 4, despite their overbearing self-seriousness, are hilarious and endlessly re-watchable, thanks in no small part to Bousman's slick, overwrought, bombastic visual style. His remake of Mother's Day, while overstuffed and ungainly in places, is actually a pretty effective thriller that dials back on the razzmatazz a bit and relies more on the characters to drive the plot. (And it's way better than the terrible original). So I figured, what the hell, I can give 11-11-11 a shot even though it's PG-13 and there's hardly a chance it could be any good.
And it's not very good, but at least it could have been worse. Bousman is (at least until the finale) dialed back again here, just opting for your standard issue desaturated color palette to achieve his patented "designer gloom" without going overboard on the editing. It's not particularly violent or even eventful, and I think Bousman is legitimately trying to make something a little more thoughtful, maybe even make a statement about the nature of religion. Which is all well and good, but I don't know that he's the guy for the job, especially when he's working with a silly story that seems to recycle a premise from that Jim Carrey movie nobody saw.
I do like the ending, a little bit, which ties everything together with a ridiculous twist that seems to be the film's sole reason to exist. It made the movie almost seem more clever and thoughtful in retrospect.
Bousman tries for some playfulness by sneaking some 11s into some of the shots, but they are all pretty obvious, usually just appearing on clocks and such. If I had made this film, I would have taken this conceit and gone hog wild with it. I would have sneaked eleven 11s into every scene. Nay, every shot. One character would wear a football jersey with the number 11 on it for the whole movie. It would show up in graffitti on every wall. Every sentence would have exactly 11 words deliberately placed in it. When two characters sit down to talk, there would be 11 items on the table. I'd frame shots between two bars on a railing so they look like giant 11s. It would be amazing.