Friday, 15 October 2010



This week's cheapo slasher nonsense, in which a bunch of charmless halfwits wander off into the darkness and get pointlessly slaughtered, is mainly notable for being [1] British, and [2] pretty much as bad as generic idiot fodder can get. You spend more of its scant 75 minutes trying to fathom the mentality behind its production than you spend following the preschool-simplistic plot (bunch of charmless halfwits wander off etc etc blah blah blah), partly because the plot takes all of five seconds to grasp (with the exception of the completely ungraspable Big Reveal at the end) but mainly because the overwhelming sense the film conveys is one of insult and contempt: the makers think so little of you as a viewer that they either genuinely believe you're going to be impressed by it, or they simply don't give a damn. You've spent your money, thanks very much, you fools.

The basic thrust of Basement is that a quintet of anti-war protestors are on their way back from a demo when they stop in the woods and find a hatch in the ground. Being dolts, they go down and - gosh! - the hatch closes behind them and they're trapped! And - gosh! - they're not alone! How do they think these things up? Cue around an hour of bickering, implausible sexual tension and wandering off into the darkness to get killed in crowd-pleasing death scenes - not because they're outrageously goretastic but because we're just glad to see the back of them.

The Big Reveal as to what's going on and why is so thunderously stupid that even the wilderness years of The X-Files wouldn't have run with it. None of our five alleged heroes are worth giving two hoots about - the men (Jimi Mistry and Danny Dyer) are thoroughly obnoxious and the women are just blanks. One's pregnant by Mistry, but Mistry fancies both the others (and is at it like knoves with one of them); Dyer fancies the other one but daren't tell her. This isn't horror cinema, it's just babbling, in a hole in the ground. It also doesn't hang together logically - if it's all part of one person's grand design then how come others go into the hole first?

Some people had the chance to make a film and THIS is what they came up with. Yet again we're back to the fact that just because people have the opportunity to make a film, that doesn't mean they should. Nowhere along the production process was there anyone saying "this doesn't make sense" or "this isn't good enough" and there should have been. It's called quality control. They either believed the script was well-written or didn't care, and I'm inclined towards the latter. And: how the hell does Danny Dyer keep getting work? He's consistently rubbish in consistently rubbish films (with the exception of Severance, but even the worst gambler in the world will get three aces sooner or later) and this is worse than any of them - worse than Outlaw, worse than Straightheads, Dead Man Running, Doghouse, even worse than Dead Cert (which, to be fair, he is only in for fourteen seconds). Does he play anything other than charmless yobs? Can he?

Visually it's uninteresting to look at; a decent director and cinematographer would have given it some kind of atmosphere. The music score appears to be nothing more than a few electronic sample riffs and rhythm tracks over the credits but it does absolutely nothing to enhance the film. Frankly I feel insulted by the level of contempt for an audience that the makers are demonstrating with this one-star movie (and it's damned lucky to get that). Basement is where it belongs, along with all the other stuff you want to keep out of sight.


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