Starring Mischa Barton, Jackson Davis, Cayleb Long, Tracie Thoms
Directed by Brian Conley and Nathan Ives
I’ll admit as soon as The Basement found its way into my email folder, I glossed over the initial details and thought to myself, “Oh, Mischa, you’re trying far too hard once again.” And for all intents and purposes I was somewhat on the right track at the time, especially since her last couple of swings-and-misses (The Hoarder and Deserted) were rather painful to my orbital regions. But as I’ve come to learn in this kooky film world, you’re only as sloppy as your last pic; and Miss Barton sure cleans up nice in this one! Let’s rinse off the muck and investigate a bit more thoroughly, shall we?
High-profile serial-killer “The Gemini” (Davis) is the film’s main antagonist, having already dispatched an unlucky seven victims at the movie’s start in his San Fernando Valley home’s basement. He slices, dices, chops, burns, and generally treats his captives like a chef’s surprise at a local steakhouse – brutality is an understatement with this fella. His next targets include musician Craig Owen and his wife (Long and Barton), but the kicker here is that the usual formulaic bits of psychological torment that The Gemini uses to soften up his prey are 180’d back in his direction, and the ultimate payoff is one that not even this eagle-eyed goon could’ve seen coming. Many other reviewers over the course of screening this one have simply referred to the twist as “diabolical,” and while I try to maintain my own assemblage of opinion when checking these films out, I can only agree with the masses’ judgement.
Some of the torture scenes are unsettling and tough to endure, but it only adds to the mystique and hidden agenda of what lies behind the cracked psyche of The Gemini – when this guy makes his way down the stairs of that dirty cellar, you simply don’t know what he’s got in store next for his prisoners. All of the performances are adequate enough for this presentation, and no one really stands above anyone else, which in itself is a nice change of things.
There are a couple of issues with the pacing, but certainly nothing to detract from a solid endeavor from a two-headed directorial threat; and if it’s a twisting, turning, wince in your seat thriller that you’re after, I can’t recommend The Basement enough for you. It’s definitely a strong production that needs to get some shine-time thrown its way – give it a look when you have the chance.