Reviewed by Mike Ferraro: Every once in a while, our calendars call for something completely understandable and normal to happen, but people of various backgrounds and beliefs take it to a place of idiocy. You may remember some months ago that a date fell upon on that caused one simple number to be repeated over and over, causing some people to freak out and claim something mystifying is going to happen. Of course it never does. Regardless, that date was 11-11-11 and coincidentally, that also happens to be the name of the new film from writer/director Darren Bousman (Saw II, III, and IV).
The film follows a famed author, Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs), as he travels to Spain to reunite with his brother Samuel, and dying father. Samuel is a religious man with close ties to the church, who tries to use Joseph’s popularity to gain some much needed attendance at the church. Seeing how Joseph’s wife and daughter burned to death in a house fire, he doesn’t much care for religion anymore. Joseph is then exposed to a video with a pretty harrowing demonic figure present. What time in the video does the supposed demon show itself? 11:11pm of course.
Joseph then admits to his brother that he has seen this number quite a few times over the last few days. On November 8th, just a day before his visit to Spain, he is involved in a pretty severe car accident. Mysteriously, he walks away completely unscathed. However, when he gets home that night, he notices his watch stopped at exactly 11:11.
There are a lot of things throughout this film that Bousman attempts to relate 11-11. Various events happen at 11:11pm (including a video where an apparent demon is present) and soon Joseph realizes that something big is going to happen on 11-11-11, at 11:11pm. Talking more about the plot at this point would just spoil any element of “surprise” that happens at the end.
And therein lies the ultimate problem of 11-11-11. The film tries hard to give a new spin on a story that has been told dozens of times. It’s clear here that Bousman is a big fan of “sacrificial horror” films like The Wicker Man (not the remake obviously), The Ninth Gate, or Rosemary’s Baby. Only with this film, it attempts a more supernatural take on that type of storytelling. Think House of the Dead but nowhere near as interesting.
The issue here ultimately hinders on the pacing. The story moves at a snail’s pace and barely has a moment to pull you back in, after you already started to lose interest within the first 11 minutes. The actors do the best they can with what the screenplay provides, especially Gibbs, who is given most of the screen time. If 11-11-11 is meant to be a drama (and a dry one at that), why give it that supernatural/religious edge?
Making-of Featurette (25:02) – This featurette spans all over the place, from Darren Bousman’s influences, to how spooky their locations were. Perhaps the best thing featured on this DVD is a brief sequence where the cast and crew talk about the house they secured in Spain for shooting. There is an accidental shot of a little girl sitting in a window on one of the upper floors. They storm the house to the room and, of course, she wasn’t there. Was it a nicely staged attempt at marketing? Perhaps, but if it was, it worked better than the entire rest of the actual film.
Deleted Scenes (3:55) – It’s very rare that deleted scenes don’t deserve the punishment of the cutting room floor and these few scenes are no exception. There is no introduction of any sort of any of these scenes, so it is hard to figure out where they belong. Despite that, however, it is still a good thing they were tossed. They would have done nothing but extend the running time of this flat film.
Commentary – Unadvertised on the back of the DVD case, the feature-length commentary features the film’s writer/director (Darren Bousman) and executive producer Laura Bousman (who also happens to be Darren’s wife). Darren does most of the talking, discussing various shooting aspects and the harsh reception the critics gave it (for obvious reasons). He brings up the fact that some of his favorite websites (including this very website) tore it to shreds, and how hurtful that was, and how he feels like he let us all down. But, like he says, “you can’t have hits all the time.” Especially when you make films like this.