Handyman Arkin (Stewart) is having money problems while trying to help his ex (Alonso) pay back a loan shark. With his daughter (Pullos) also under threat, Arkin hatches a plan to break into the safe of one of his clients (Burke), who is taking his wife (Roth) and daughters (Zima and Collins) on a family holiday.
This seems simple enough until he gets into the house and finds a mysterious figure (Fernandez) doing unspeakably nasty things to the family. Does Arkin take the money and run or can he help stop the mayhem?
The script sets up the characters economically with just enough detail to make them believable before plunging us into what is essentially a torture-porn movie. The fact that we can identify with some of these people makes the outrageously engineered violence quite freaky, even if we haven't a clue why this masked villain is inflicting so much agony on the people he collects. And there's some hope as well, since Arkin might be able to help.
Stewart is effective as the hapless man who stumbles into a ludicrously overwrought house of horrors. The problem is that he's the only character who's remotely believable. Everyone else is a scary movie type, from the victims to the insanely obsessive villain. Even so, his sadistic inventiveness keeps us watching, as we prepare to look away from whatever grisly booby trap someone might spring next.
Director Dunstan adds plenty of visual style along with macabre little touches, mainly creepy bugs and spiders. Each discovery Arkin makes is more appalling than the last, and much of this is so excessive that it's almost unwatchable.
Meanwhile, the detail of the villain's set-up is so fantastical that it's impossible to believe: besides the central question of why, there's virtually no way anyone could actually do all of this. But fans of hideously nightmarish movies will probably enjoy it, not because of any suspense but because it's so brutal.
Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Friday 31st July 2009
Box Office USA: $7.7M
Box Office Worldwide: $9.4M
Distributed by: Freestyle Releasing
Production compaines: Fortress Features
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 48
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: Marcus Dunstan
Producer: Brett Forbes, Julie Richardson, Patrick Rizzotti
Screenwriter: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan
Starring: Josh Stewart as Arkin, Michael Reilly Burke as Michael Chase, Andrea Roth as Victoria Chase, Juan Fernández as The Collector, Madeline Zima as Jill Chase, Karley Scott Collins as Hannah Chase, Robert Wisdom as Roy, Daniella Alonso as Lisa, Haley Pullos as Cindy (as Haley Alexis Pullos), Diane Ayala Goldner as Gena Wharton, Alex Feldman as Chad, Krystal Mayo as Bar Dancer, Gregory Alan Williams as Sheriff, Michael Showers as Deputy sheriff, Bill Stinchcomb as Bar Patron, Brett Forbes as Office Hoss Wiggins, Eric Kelly McFarland as Firefighter, Jabari Thomas as Medic, Hiro Koda as Medic #2, Colvin Roberson as Roy's Driver / Bodyguard, John Snell as Yard Worker, Jon Dainty as Strip Club Patron (uncredited), William Morse as Stabbed Man (uncredited), David Pitt as Barman (uncredited), Philip Poth as Foreman (uncredited), Patrick Rizzotti as Bowling Ball Cleaner (uncredited)
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