The Basement (2018)

The Gemini, a deranged serial killer, has been torturing and killing people in the basement of his San Fernando Valley home. But once he meets famous musician Craig Owen and his girlfriend Kelly, he may have met his match.

The Gemini (Jackson Davis) has already claimed seven victims, maiming them and decapitating them with a blowtorch. He’s a master of psychological mayhem, but it turns out that Craig (Cayleb Long) may be even better. They play a back and forth game of identity for the entire film, with neither ever holding the upper hand for long.

Craig is abducted while buying champagne for his wife and awakens in Bill’s basement, who turns Craig into the killer and himself as a number of personas that are interrogating him. Jackson Davis is great in this as the killer, bringing a variety of voices, mannerisms and pure insanity to each new role. Seeing as how this is a film where two actors have to carry most of the weight, both Davis and Long really hold their own.

There’s also a subplot where that wife — Kelly (Mischa Barton, making her second recent appearance on this site) — deals with an affair Craig is having. This made me feel like I was watching two different movies.

Directors Brian Conley and Nathan Ives may not have done many movies that you’ve heard of, but this movie proves that they’re two talents to watch. The film looks really great, with special attention being obviously paid to lighting and shadow. I think they both have a great film in them and this is a good start.

The torture scenes here gradually increase in how rough and gory they are, starting with smashed teeth and only getting worse. There’s also a plot twist or two here, but you’ll be able to spot them coming from a few hundred feet out. It also owes a lot to Split, but is a more down to Earth tale.

That said — the climax does NOT skimp on the gruesome, offering a real surprise. That part I enjoyed. I could have done without the one month later denouement, but some people like having things explaining. At least after an entire film of Micha Barton feeling estranged from the plot, it ties it all together.

The Basement is opening today in these cities:

  • LA: Laemmle Music Hall
  • Cleveland: Tower City Cinemas
  • Atlanta: AMC Southlake Pavilion
  • Chicago: AMC South Barrington
  • Houston: AMC Gulf Pointe
  • Minneapolis: AMC Apple Valley
  • Phoenix: AMC Arizona Center
  • San Francisco: AMC Deer Valley
  • Dallas: AMC Grapevine Mills

You can also find it digitally starting today. Learn more at the official site.

Disclaimer: I was sent this film by its PR team and in no way did that impact my review.

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