Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Lock In (2014)

Directed by: no one was listed at time of writing.
Produced by: Holy Moly Pictures 
Runtime: 98 minutes

I learned about this movie from an online news site that likes to report on the more offbeat things. The headline for this movie compared this movie to The Room. Being an idiot I went out and bought this movie expecting a train wreck just like The Room.

This is The Room. It is an amazing train wreck of a movie. It is incompetently edited, has insane direction and things happen without rhyme or reason. It also has lots of passion and charm that makes it a memorable train wreck.

This is The Lock In. Or rather this is me holding an empty bourbon bottle because The Lock In is streaming on demand and does not have a dvd release. This is a competently made film that understand the horror genre, and understands how to make a believable found footage film. Yes The Lock In has a different message but it conveys this message better than The Room could ever hope to do. Well I bought the ticket so let me take you on the ride that is The Lock In.

Since this movie is not twenty years old, I usually try to write a spoiler free review. However, four minutes in to the movie it spoils itself. So just to let you know the rest of this review is full of spoilers.

The movie opens with former youth pastor Chris explaining that the footage the viewer is about to see is disturbing. So disturbing that he quit being a youth pastor and took up selling insurance. Then he says the most horrifying thing in the whole movie, all the kids involved in the footage live.

This leads into the movie's title card and introduces the main characters. Due to not really caring and the rushed pace the movie introduced the main characters I did not really get the characters names. So I will just use the nicknames I gave them from my notes. The movie rapidly introduces Born Loser, Camera Guy and Mr. Mugging. Born Loser get lectured a lot for things he either didn't do or for things that are not as big an issue. Camera Guy is behind the camera eighty percent of the film and then there is Mr. Mugging. Every time the camera goes near Mr. Mugging this tool is trying his best to be annoying and is a great success at this. Most of my notes about this movie involve wanting this character to die horribly in this film.

The trio are going to a church lock in. A lock in is where a bunch of kids get locked in a church overnight and play games and do youth related stuff. Mr. Mugging thinks that this night will be epic and wants the events filmed. So Camera Guy and Mr. Mugging go pick up Born Loser and Mr. Mugging proceeds to cause problems for Born Loser. Mr. Mugging nearly shouts about how Born Loser had pizza and studied with a girl. This leads to Born Loser's parents taking him aside and giving him a lecture about the evils of premarital sex.

The plot starts to move again as the trio make their way to the church lock in. However, Mr. Mugging hasn't been annoying in two minutes and guilts the other two into cleaning his car. So they pull up to the nearest dumpster and end up finding an adult magazine.Mr. Mugging thinks it is a brilliant idea to hide the magazine in Born Loser's stuff. This plan goes about as well as most barely thought out ideas, the magazine is found and the trio get in trouble. Though Mr. Mugging does make himself human and likable by admitting it was his stupid idea but youth pastor Chris is blaming all three of them for the magazine.

So youth pastor Chris and the three protagonists go outside and burn the magazine. Back inside the church, the trio are amazed that they only got a lecture instead of being sent home and ending the movie early. This amazement is brought to an end when the adult magazine returns unexpectedly in Camera Guy's stuff. So the trio run upstairs to throw away this new magazine when everything goes wrong. The trio throw the magazine in the first trash can they can find and the trash can starts moving. Scared the daylights out of them, the trio run down stairs to find all the doors locked and there is no one else in the church.

This starts the bulk of the movie were the protagonists running around the church with the demon appearing at random to scare the trio to another part of the church. I liked how you never get a clear look at the demon in this part of the movie but it would have been better if the demon hurt some of them. Like Mr. Mugging for example, he could have used several needless beatings.

My pettiness and blood lust have nothing to do with the plot so back to the plot. As the trio are trying to escape the church and the demon they run into the girl that Born Loser likes. There is more running and not a lot of Mr. Mugging being injured. At one point they hide in a kitchen and Token Female Interest reveals that her parents divorce was caused by the images pornography put in her father's head. After some pointless dialog and a short nap, Token Female Interest hears her friend at the door and foolishly opens the door and is pulled out of the scene and the rest of the movie.

The idiots three decide to go running around some more and end up in a office with video camera setup. Like all normal people trapped in a church with a demon they do the most logical thing and watch the footage on the camera. The camera is being used to record a counseling secession of some guy who is dealing with porn addiction. After a few minutes of the addict explaining his on going problems with porn addiction the pastor leaves the frame and then things get weird. The guy looks into the camera and starts talking to the trio by name with a demonic voice.

This leads to the best part of the whole movie, Mr Mugging gets so scared that he leaves the group. Sadly this act does not lead to his grisly destruction but I will take victory where I can. Camera Guy and Born Loser run away and take shelter in a broom closet. The camera is running low on power at this point so the light on the camera goes out and the two of them take a quick nap. When Camera guy gets the camera up and running he find that Born Loser is gone.

Now Camera Guy is on his own and goes wandering around to find a way out and other people. Instead he finds and confront the demon, none of this is shown. There is  lots of yelling and growling but nothing is shown. Somehow Camera Guy gets away and runs into the main part of the church where everyone is sitting looking sleep deprived. They are all puzzled as to why he is talking nonsense about everyone missing an demons. As far as they know, he was with the group of kids the entire night and just left to go to the bathroom only to come back ranting and raving crazy nonsense.

The final scene is of the trio talking in the not dead Mr. Mugging's car. Born Loser and Mr. Mugging don't doubt that Camera Guy what he had experienced but they don't remember any of the events he is talking about.  He gets dropped off at his house and films himself throwing out his collection of adult magazines that he collected by dumpster diving. Then the movie just abruptly ends without credits.

MVT: Underneath the message there is a horror film begging to be let out. The writer of this movie understands horror and with a rewrite or two and a budget this would be an amazing horror film.

Make or Break: What makes this movie for me is the technical competence. Cgi is used sparsely and only when there is no budget for practical effects. Character conversations are framed so that you can see who is talking to who. As for breaking, the purpose and tone is what broke this movie for me. This is a film aimed at teenagers and goes out of it's way to try to speak to teenagers. This makes watching for entertainment rather difficult especially if you are in your thirties.

Score: 1.4 out of 10  


No comments:

Post a Comment