Besides its bleached out saturation and the skin crawling music by Joseph Bishara (Insidious), 11-11-11 served nothing more horrifying other than its suggestive date of superstition. Darren Lynn Bousman might have successfully created a dense atmosphere of dread, but the potential horror was prevented from becoming a heightened nightmare by its lacklustre blatant boos and overly ambitious story.
After the tragic death of his wife and child, famed American author Joseph Crone travels from the United States to Barcelona, Spain to reunite with his estranged brother Samuel and dying father, Richard. However, fate has a different plan for Joseph as his life becomes plagued with strange happenings, and the constant sightings of the number 11. Curiosity quickly turns to obsession, and Joseph soon realizes that this number holds a horrific meaning not only to himself but possibly to all of religion. Isolated in a foreign country with only the support of his companion, Sadie, Joseph soon realizes that 11/11/11 is more than just a date, it’s a WARNING!
Bousman began in loud mode horror with an overwhelming score in similar acoustic signatures of the recent horror hit Insidious (Joseph Bishara scored both films) and nightmarish imagery of flames and suffering. It did allow the audience an appetiser to what might be coming their way subsequently.
Supposed hazards that would eventually be linked to the 11-11-11 phenomenon soon began filling the scene chapters one by one. It was the film's way of building suspense and mystery revelation, as it did prepare and behold a dark twist towards the end as a climatic satisfaction for genre fans and audience.
Credits due to Bousman for being able to sustain a constant dense environment of darkness and dread, complemented by the bleached image saturation and the hair-standing score. Bousman got our attention effectively where he successfully heightened the tensile demeanour of the audience before the planned scares were delivered softly thereafter.
What a pity.
The source of fear and horror seemed to be coming from genre techniques and none from the genre antagonists. Even the stagnant Gargoyle statue appeared to be more frightening than the "demons" in cloaks and pink scalded skin.
Casting was fresh as most of the actors seemed to be skindeep in terms of character depth. It seemed to be a consequence of inadequate screenwriting and actor directing. You could tell when the nearing deathbed father of the protagonists was the most horrible (and active) character amongst all.
The film gradually deviated towards religion and kept the mystery behind the highly controversial date going until the very end where the date didn't seem to matter. Yes, there was a significant plot deliverable at the end that seem to attempt a SAW fashioned round up conclusion that would impact the audience.
In fact, it was a replication of a SAW final conclusion. Less Charlie Clouser's trademark score and Jigsaw's "Game over".
Looks like Bousman's film traits were seemingly cultivated in and defined by his heavy involvement with the SAW franchise. I'm afraid it might be better for Bousman to venture on a few short films and sideline projects before taking on new feature film productions to allow him some space to gather new inspirations and perhaps a new direction.
Indeed, the story had a good premise and feel about it. Despite so, it was too ambitious and brought about several plot holes and underwhelming outcomes.