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11-11-11: The Prophecy (2011)
Big Air Studios
DVD Released: 4/24/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/26/2012
When we look at horror film directors, they typically fall into two categories. Some get their start in horror movies and then move onto other things -- typically more mainstream things. (I'm looking at you Sam Raimi.) Others remain in the horror genre for the most part and attempt different sub-genres within the category. Filmmakers like John Carpenter and Wes Craven have floated through the likes of slasher films and ghost stories among other subjects. These movies are decidedly hit or miss, but it's good that they try different things. 33-year old Darren Lynn Bousman has only been in the genre for less than a decade, but he's already shown a drive for hitting various topics. His latest outing is 11-11-11: The Prophecy.
Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs) is a best-selling author who's life is in upheaval despite his success. His wife and son died in a fire and he's been attending support groups to try and deal with this. At one of the meetings he meets Sadie (Wendy Glenn), who seems determined to be his friend. Joseph receives a call from his brother, Samuel (Michael Landes), who informs Joseph that their father, Richard (Denis Rafter), is dying. Joseph flies to Spain to be with his family. Samuel is a priest who is confined to a wheelchair, and he clashes with Joseph's atheist beliefs. Not long after Joseph arrives, he begins to experience bizarre things, like seeing strange figures on the lawn. Also, it becomes clear that Samuel's life is in danger. As these events occur, Joseph notes that the number 11:11 is involved in the events. As November 11, 2011 approaches, Joseph must race to learn what the numbers mean and how he can save Samuel.
Bousman burst onto the scene in 2005 when he was chosen to direct Saw II, thereby guaranteeing him a hit right out of the gate. His success on this film lead him to helm Saw III and Saw IV. However, Bousman clearly didn't want the Saw films to be his only legacy, so he madeRepo! The Genetic Opera, a futuristic musical about organ repossession. In other words, a movie which was about as far from Saw as possible. He then made a updated version of the Lloyd Kaufmann shocker Mother's Day, a movie which was shot in 2010 and will soon be making it's U.S. home video debut. Following this, he turned his attention to the supernatural with 11-11-11: The Prophecy.
11-11-11: The Prophecy is meant to be a throwback to classic religious horror movies such as Rosemary's Baby and The Omen. Like those films, we follow an innocent who gets caught up in a religious conspiracy where they are surrounded by nefarious symbols and violent events. Storywise, Bousman succeeds in the film, as the movie has some interesting twists and the plot more or less falls in line. If you were to simply read a full synopsis of the film, it would probably sound pretty good, as the twists revealed in the finale are actually pretty interesting. The pieces fall into place and you realize that Bousman had a good plan in place.
Whereas Bousman wanted to make a homage to 70s horror movies, the end result actually resembles a low-budget Euro-horror film. The first thing which jumped out at me was the editing. There are several scenes which have very awkward quick cuts to shots which look like 2nd Unit pickups. It's almost as if the original footage didn't match so something had to be thrown in to continue the scene. The other thing which I noticed was that the movie is very dark, sometimes too dark. However, there is an overall aura to the movie, outside from the fact that it was clearly shot in Spain, which feels like something that Lucio Fulci or Umberto Lenzi would have made in the 80s. Depending on your tastes concerning Euro-horror, this may be a good thing or a bad thing. The pacing is slow and the dialogue is sometimes contrived and we feel as if the movie wants to do more than it actually is -- which sums up nearly every Italian horror movie!
On the very raw and honest audio commentary found on this DVD, Bousman opens up about how limited budgets and language barriers kept his original vision from making it to the screen. The result is what feels like half of a movie (which is nearly literal, as 11-11-11: The Prophecy only runs for 78 minutes minus the end credits). Again, the story is interesting and there are few effective creepy moments when demonic faces suddenly appear, but most will come away with an "And..." response, as we can't help but feel that something else was supposed to happen. Supernatural horror has seen a nice resurgence as of late, but 11-11-11: The Prophecy can't compare to successful entries likeInsidious, but it was better than The Rite.
11-11-11: The Prophecy would have been a completely different movie is everyone had an analog clock on DVD courtesy of Big Air Studios. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no intrusive grain and no defects from the source material. However, as noted above, the image is dark and it's difficult to tell what is happening at times. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the transfer or something which was intentionally done during filming, but it's difficult to ignore. On the positive side, the level of detail is good for a DVD and the image never goes soft. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Where the video fails, the audio shines...literally. During the finale, when the screen is quite dark, the surround sound effects really step up, as we hear people running through the house in the rear speakers. These effects work very nicely and serve as an example of what a superior sound mix can bring to a movie.
The 11-11-11: The Prophecy DVD contains a few extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer/Director Darren Lynn Bousman and Producer Laura Bousman. The "Making of Featurette" (25 minutes) features interviews with Bousman and the cast. Bousman talks some about the film's origin and then the piece turns to casting, where the actors discuss their characters. The speakers then talk about the experience shooting in Spain, most notably the weird house where the movie was shot. The DVD offers DELETED SCENES which run about 4 minutes. These are all pretty incidental, but two may have been cut due to the fact that they offered too much foreshadowing.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long