David-Lynch-style thrillers are definitely not for everyone, but they do have a certain atmospheric charm, regardless of what you think of the story-telling technique. However, by now, we’ve seen a lot of these same surrealistic ideas over and over again. Be it Donnie Darko or Lost Highway, there’s only so much you can do with dream-like filmmaking. In Monday at 11:01 AM, director Harvey Lowry attempts to create his own version of a surreal yet familiar world where nothing is what it seems.
The film stars Charles Agron, who also happens to be the screenwriter, as Michael, a wealthy man travelling with his beautiful girlfriend, Jenny, played by Lauren Shaw. The couple decides to stay for the night in a secluded town and end up getting a room in a mysterious hotel. The next day, however, an accident closes off the town’s only exit, and Michael soon realizes that there is something sinister going on in this quiet town.
The premise here is as familiar to us viewers as the creepy hotel is to the characters in the film, but it still works. The atmosphere and mood are extremely well constructed, aided by a subtle yet effective soundtrack that suggests that there is an evil force bubbling just beneath the town’s seemingly peaceful surface. To be honest, I’m a sucker for stories even slightly similar to Silent Hill and Twin Peaks, so I was hooked to Monday at 11:01 AM from the very beginning.
Lowry’s direction is actually good enough to make you forget the many clues present throughout the film, so that what should have been a predictable ending becomes a welcome surprise, despite having been seen in various other movies in the past. The acting, on the other hand, felt a tiny bit off during most of the movie, especially when Agron’s character is agitated. Although, considering the subject matter, that actually does contribute to the overall dreamy vibe. Both Lance Henriksen and Brianna Evigan also have brief but memorable roles, but are sadly underused.
Again, the film isn’t terribly original, but it’s obvious that both Harvey and Charles did their homework concerning this type of story, so it’s hard to lose interest. From strange satanic cults to doors that seem out of place, there’s always some element that catches your attention, even if only for a little while. If the film had more of these moments, and if the ending had been a little bit less obvious, Monday at 11:01 AM could have been a true classic.
Naturally, No one here will be replacing David Lynch any time soon, but this film is a welcome addition to the sub-genre. At times I was actually reminded of of Tony Krantz’s Sublime (another moody film that I like much more than I should), though Monday is obviously the superior picture. In any case, if you feel like watching something mysterious with more atmosphere than gore, give this one a shot.