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11-11-11 – 6

Director – Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast – Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, Wendy Glenn, Benjamin Cook, Lolo Herrero, Salomé Jiménez, Brendan Price, Denis Rafter, Ángela Rosal

Release Year – 2011

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I remember being very stoked for 11-11-11 when I first heard of it about two years ago. Director Darren Lynn Bousman has been a favorite of mine due to his consistently good horror films (Saw II/III/IV, Repo! The Genetic Opera), and when I came across the plot and seemingly dark telling of this story I was ready to continue enjoying his work…and then the bad reviews came in. Several of my favorite horror websites / reviewers began bashing the film as if it smacked their mothers, and I really could not understand why. The story seemed good, I was assuming the direction was good, but nonetheless the horror community hate for this film only grew and grew until my interest in this piece was long gone. Eventually I found a rental DVD of this film and decided to give it a go for myself, and whaddya know…I enjoyed it.

When his estranged brother, Pastor Samuel Crone, contacts him regarding his father’s last days on Earth, American author Joseph Crone travels to Barcelona, Spain to for his father’s looming passing and by default…spend time with the brother he has not seen in years. Still recovering from the tragic death of his wife and young son, Joseph has been consistently experiencing odd events involving the number 11. It seems coincidental at first, but soon enough he will learn there is a very significant meaning not only behind the number 11, but also his presence in Barcelona.

I take no shame in saying that I enjoy this, and at the same time take much pride in saying that the early and very negative reviews came without merit. That is not to say that the film was not bad for them and their opinions did not matter, but this film was not given the chance it deserved. This stems from the reviewers reviewing incomplete cuts of the film that were leaked before being officially released to media outlets and eventually to theaters. I’m not going to write to you about how you shouldn’t watch pirated films because personally they don’t involve me so I really don’t care if you do or don’t. What I am saying is I find it wrong and lacking merit to review a film that has not been completed, especially if you bring in a large and easily persuaded audience. Some have reviewed the film’s final cut and still respectfully found it appalling, but I am not one of those persons.

This dark tale takes off with an opening sequence very reminiscent of the dark and spooky events that would take place during the remaining 90 minutes. We follow Joseph as he continually grieves over the loss he recently suffered at the hands of a deranged fan of his work, further establishing his atheistic belief that the God of Love his brother and father so dearly believe in is only a mystical “man who lives in the clouds”. Even before he receives the troubling call from his brother Joseph is falling victim to strange occurrences involving the sequence 11:11, and things only worsen when he arrives in Barcelona and is forced to reside in his father and brother’s home – also the site of their church. Joseph is looking to show up, pay his respects to his dying father, and leave as quickly as he arrived, but the increasing frequency of the horrors around him force him to stay when he learns that his brother may be in serious trouble from an unexplainable force. I loved that we were given numerous scenes involving the “demons” that lurked within the home and forced many scary moments for the two brothers to endure, which is what I felt helped me look past the films faults. Yes, the story does have its faults at times, with some ideas that don’t make too much sense and an obscure plot that I am sure most of the film’s detractors found unbelievable and too fantastical despite this being a FICTIONAL film. Nonetheless the horror was very present throughout this piece and did not consist of mere jump scares but many slow-building and very creepy scenes that I appreciated and had a substantial effect on my enjoyment of this story. Of course, the ending sequence is always the most important in a film, and I was very pleased with the events that occurred during the final act of the film. I cannot say what happens because it would ruin it’s impact on the viewer, but I will say that it was enjoyable, not predictable, evil, and most importantly…horrific.

I liked the story, but Darren Lynn Bousman’s direction is what really sold this piece to me. The film kicks off with his amazing atmosphere provided by the genius idea to film the flick in Spain instead of the intended Kansas (a legitimate site for religious and “cult” folks) and continually builds the dreadful (in a positive way) atmosphere until the awesome climax consisting of rain, lightning, earth, roots, darkness, blood, and a hoard of demons. The horror in this film was executed incredibly well, giving us some very creepy looking antagonists whose mannerisms were simply yet truly shocking. It is amazing to see how cheap Halloween masks can be used to scare the viewer, showing that have virtually no budget forces the filmmakers to get creative and work with what they have. As far as the actors go I felt that they all portrayed their roles very well, with Timothy Gibbs (who looks like A LOT of different actors) selling his role the best. I have read reviews that stated the acting was “poor”/”horrible”/etc., but I see that as a case of mistaken reviewing if anything – as writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman stated “don’t blame the actors because I wrote them lines you did not like”. Amen to that, and best of luck in the future Mr. Bousman.

Overall, 11-11-11 is a film that has suffered a bad rap that I believe has come unfairly as a result of reviewers writing on an unfinished product instead of what was meant to be seen by audiences worldwide. Aside from that I did enjoy this story as it blended good horror with an interesting religious element, and to top it all off Darren Lynn Bousman brought forth his ever-awesome direction that resulted in a spooky and atmospherically epic experience that could have been better, but is not nearly as bad as many have unethically made it out to be.

Rating: 6/10

  1. July 20, 2012 at 2:04 am

    To be honest, like you, despite the bad reviews I’ve read prior to watching the movie, I’ve rather enjoyed watching this movie. It has a goody story, great atmosphere and Max Payne… oops, Timothy Gibbs for crying out loud 🙂 The only real shame is that the Bousman worked on a shoestring budget because we would have a much better movie. It kinda reminded me to the old school cult horrors from the 80’s 🙂 Great review, man 😉

    • July 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks, I’m glad you went into this with the proper mindset instead of a tarnished one. lol Max Payne…it just had to be done.

  2. July 23, 2012 at 1:42 am

    I usually don’t pay too much attention to the critics opinion when I want to watch the movie. Sometimes, but just sometimes, it turns out they were right 🙂 I like to watch my movies open minded, whether they’re art dramas, horrors, comedy or some silly no-brains actions.

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