Saturday, May 7, 2011

Blackout (2008)


Written by Ed Dougherty
Directed by Rigoberto Castaneda

Karl Maddox...Aiden Gillen
Claudia...Amber Tamblyn
Tommy...Armie Hammer

"There is no chance.  No destiny.  No fate.  There's only what you take from the world.  And what the world takes from you."

Remember that movie from a year or two ago, where a group of strangers get trapped in an elevator?  And each of them has some sort of dark backstory that landed them there?  And, oh yeah, one of them is something other than what they are pretending to be?

Right now, you're thinking Yeah, jackass.  That movie was called DEVIL.

Well, two years before Devil, there was Blackout.  So who's the jackass now?

Dr. Karl Maddox, a widower who has taken to womanizing, using his sob story to pick up chicks.

Claudia, a frazzled student whose grandmother was struck down by a vehicle right before her eyes, and now lays dying on a hospital bed.

Tommy, an angst-ridden, tattoo-covered, motorcycle-riding bad boy whose current lady friend is trapped in an abusive home.

Three, death and violence all around them.  Surely they've all got secrets, but one of them has a really big secret.  One of them is a freakin' serial killer!  It's supposed to be a big game that keeps you guessing right up until the very end, but really, it's fairly obvious right from the start who the lunatic is and who the red herrings are.  Hell, they're not even very good red herrings.  One of them you don't even suspect for a second!  A few more suspects would have helped in this regard, or at least a few better suspects.  At least Devil had me second-guessing myself, even when I thought I knew who it was.

It's a claustrophobic atmosphere, but each of the three characters have their own flashbacks  that take us outside of the narrow confines of the elevator.  These flashbacks are, presumably, supposed to give us reason to suspect the innocents if not give us a little insight into who they are.  Unfortunately, they don't do either very successfully, and they just seem like wasted time, padding out what should have been a 30 minute short into a feature-length presentation.

It was not a terrible film by any stretch of the imagination, and sure, it was intriguing to see an unacknowledged prototype of Devil.  But it was way too tame for my tastes, there wasn't an iota of suspense to be found, and the surprise element that it promised to bring simply did not exist, and so I walked away disappointed.  I'm just willing to bet that you will too.

It should be noted that IMDB has this film listed as 120 minutes, while the version that I Instant Watched clocked in at just under 85 minutes.  Normally, this would upset me, but I'm just going to assume that in this case, less is more.

Rated R
84 Minutes
United States

"If I don't get out of here soon, I'm going to slit your fucking throat."

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