Tuesday, July 11, 2017
DIRECTOR: Robert Legato
WRITER: Christopher Borrelli
Brandon T. Jackson
Jacob Martin receives a call to tell him that his father has been found dead. His dad has committed suicide. When he goes to meet the executor of the will, he is told his father has left him a large inheritance of over a million dollars. The only way that he can get the money is by acquiring the death certificate of a family member who was committed to a now-defunct mental institution. When they are unable to acquire the certificate, they decide to break into the asylum and soon discover the dark history of Eloise. They will be in for a long night of hell.
Being a big fan of Buffy ever since I was roughly twelve years of age. I have still got a love for the show and all the cast members twenty years later. So if I see that any of the cast has a new movie or television show coming out, I will still try and invest the time in watching their latest stuff even if the results turn out terrible like How I Met Your Mother or most of Nicholas Brandon's entire career after Buffy. Seeing that Eliza Dushku had a new horror movie coming out, I couldn't pass up the chance to watch her latest flick.
The last time I witnessed Eliza Dushku in a horror film. It was the early naughties cannibal horror film set in West Virginia 'Wrong Turn'. It was extremely gory, it had some standout death scenes and a cast of characters that I actually cared for, which is pretty rare in this genre. So as I was going into Eloise, I was pretty bloody excited to see what her latest film would be like and I had my fingers crossed that I would come out of her latest effort gleefully smiling at the carnage I had just witnessed.
The first big issue with Eloise is that the movie opens at the very end of the film. We see that Eliza Dushku's character Pia is in a catatonic-like state. This man talks to her and basically explains that everyone that she was with at the asylum is either dead or haven't been found yet. Within that first few seconds of the movie, we are given the ending straight up. We know exactly where this film will end up. There are no shocks in store for the audience when we are aware that three of the four characters who enter the asylum don't make it out alive.
The film goes back in time only a day and starts to tell the story from the beginning. We are introduced to Chace Crawford's character Jacob, and he immediately finds out that his father has killed himself by committing suicide. We are also introduced to his mate who is in deep trouble and owes someone a lot of money. What perfect timing as Jacob is about to inherit over a million dollars. When the asylum doesn't release the records, the only way to secure this inheritance is by breaking in. Add in Eliza Dushku's bartender Pia and her childlike and special brother who is obsessed with Eloise. We are introduced to the group, and they break into the asylum very quickly. A positive is that the movie doesn't take long at all in getting us into the action.
The second issue I had with Eloise is that two of the four characters are extremely annoying. We have the token black guy who is playing a thug, he's also in trouble with someone and owes them a lot of money and not shockingly, he also carries a gun. Way to stereotype his character. Secondly, the brother is insufferable. As he's explained as not being all there, He's childlike. Being overly excited the entire time got on my nerves, so watching Robert Patrick put a metal spike through his eye and into his brain came as a welcome relief. The only two that I cared for was Eliza and Chace who both had a solid chemistry.
We get some pretty awesome scenes during the break-in to the asylum. We have a nice scene that involves LSD being poured into a wound that gives the film one of its more chilling scenes. We also have a scene where a character is chased, and he falls through the floors of the asylum only to land on a stretcher and ends up being carried off to his death. I also liked the visual aesthetic of how this often switched between our current time and when Eloise was in its prime back in its heyday. While the time shifts are never successfully explained, I thought it was nice to look at on a visual level with the dual timelines.
The third act of the film isn't very good. The twist is pretty predictable. Like Clinical, I think I guessed what the connection and eventual reveal was going to be towards the second half of the movie. What the third act does do successfully is that it features a rather beautiful and heartbreaking scene between Chace's Jacob and his mother. It actually made me well up in this scene which shocked me. If you'd have told me that Chace Crawford would almost make me cry with his performance and acting ability, I'd have laughed in your face, but I will now have to eat my words. Eliza Dushku is still a solid genre actress. There is not much else to say.
Lastly, I think on a carnage level, Eloise is pretty light. There isn't much blood at all. I think this is a movie that is going for more mood and suspense and even that wasn't really up to scratch. Minus the LSD, Blue Cross scene, I didn't find the movie all that scary. For a movie that feels quite similar in tone to House On Haunted Hill, it lacks both the creepiness and the excellent make-up and gore effects of that film. I think had this movie given us a few more creepy set pieces, the movie might have played a lot scarier.
DEATH TOLL: 4
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Quick flashbacks of violence.
- A dead rotting bird is shown.
- A mental patient is seen hanging by a noose.
- Patients are beaten by orderlies.
- Someone is stabbed with needles.
- Someone drowns.
- A metal utensil is shoved through someone's eye and skull.
- Someone is pulled back into a burning asylum.
- Quick flashes of patients facing their fears.
I went into Eloise with high hopes. Being a big fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I was excited to see the great Eliza Dushku doing another genre film. Sadly, this is material that isn't up to her talents. With the predictable twist, a lot of plot points not making much sense, a couple of annoying characters and a horror story that is lacking in both scares and gore, I found myself a little bit disappointed with this psychological horror flick. Only watch if you're a fan of either Chace Crawford or Eliza Dushku.