100 Feet (2008)

OCTOBER 11, 2008

GENRE: GHOST
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (SCREAMFEST)

I haven't seen too many of Eric Red's films, either when he's just the writer (Near Dark) or taking directing duties as well (Body Parts), but I feel safe in saying that 100 Feet will be remembered as one of his best. Taking a minimal (and potentially disastrous) storyline - a woman under house arrest being tormented by the ghost of her abusive husband - and maximizing the number of scares and surprising plot elements, his work here should be commended, and seen by the widest audience possible.

First of all, there's fewer ways to ensure an audience stays engaged with what is onscreen than to structure your film in a manner that places Famke Jannsen front and center for nearly every second of the running time. She's always been an interesting actress (has she ever even stooped to a romcom?) and she's as hot now as she was 13 years ago in Goldeneye. On the surface, a movie about a woman confined to her home sounds as visually exciting as watching paint dry, but Red and Famke prove that notion wrong.

And you gotta give props to Michael Paré, playing the ghost of her ex-husband. The ghost design is super creepy (it's sort of J-horror inspired, but with a touch of German expressionism), and while you never really see Paré's face, you can tell it's him, and he is one brutal motherfucker. There's a bit late in the film when he utterly annihilates Famke's new boyfriend, and the blood splatter from the guy forms an image of his person, a la the invisible man effects in Hollow Man or Memoirs Of An Invisible Man. It's one of the best (and most violent) "ghost attack" scenes I've seen in ages.

Again, this could all be ludicrous, but the film is played 100% serious, and it works. There are at least 4 great jump scares in the film, plus one of the all time best "hand in the garbage disposal" scenes. Lots of horror films have this gag, and sometimes it fails to deliver the intended effect (i.e. scaring me out of ever putting my own hand in one again - I'm always losing bottle caps down there!), but this one nails it.

I also like how Red chose to not beat us over the head with some of the details. Early on the ghost begins tossing plates at Famke at breakneck speed. Later on, we see that she has replaced all her kitchenware with plastic or Styrofoam, but we don't have a cutesy scene of her buying bulk Dixie stock. One detail I wish they did explain though was why Famke always stretches to open her front door, as it falls just outside her "100 foot" range. We are told she has 3 minutes before she will get in trouble, and she even leaves the house entirely at one point (timing her 3 minutes), so why she can't just open the door normally and walk the two steps back is a bit puzzling.

Another minor issue is her husband's ex-partner. He starts off the film hating her, assuming she just killed her husband for no reason and not self-defense. But halfway through he's suddenly on her side, however he's now convinced she didn't really kill him, but that someone else did and she is covering for them. Huh? He even admits to finally reading her police reports that the husband's buddies had "lost", so how he came to this alternate conclusion is a bit baffling.

Still, for a ghost movie, two minor issues is way below par. Like I've said before, I don't usually find ghosts/supernatural type things to be particularly scary, but this one works. The occasional humor does its job (levity), and it never drags, which is, again, something you don't expect when you're dealing with something that could almost be done as a stage play. Its theatrical future is uncertain, but if it eventually goes DTV, don't let that fool you: this is a movie that deserves to be seen.

What say you?

6 comments:

  1. Looks pretty interesting. Is this sort of like Inside, with various people checking in on her and getting killed by the ghost? Or is it mainly limited to Famke Vs. Ghost? Either way, I'm still game.

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  2. Pretty much just Famke... I forgot to point out, thats another strong point of the film. There are few sort of traditional distractions and the body count is 1.

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  3. Confucius say... DIE!October 13, 2008 at 7:21 AM

    "Ghost attack" scene is top ten ever, and Famke Fatale (1965) is ... top ten ever, too.

    But the movie is just decent.

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  4. I thought it was pretty good too. Famke is a capable lead (and quite nice to look at). But for me, the ending leaves a bad impression of the movie. I think the film would have been much stronger with an improved final confrontation instead of the confusing one that is shown.

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  5. I just found this movie a few days ago on Netflix instant play, and I really enjoyed it.

    I assumed Marnie did the thing with the door because she couldn't see who was at the door before she opened it. The ankle bracelet is humiliating, and she wouldn't necessarily want everybody to ask, "Hey, what's that beeping?"

    Re the husband's partner's behavior - to me it seemed strongly implied that Shanks had a thing for Marnie. If Shanks did not initially believe Mike was beating Marnie, then it's easy to see why he hated her so much for murdering Mike.

    Later, when Shanks sees Marnie with bruises, the idea that Marnie is innocent and persecuted is the first idea he's going to jump to. And after he's at that place mentally (and sees that Marnie keeps acquiring new bruises, and keeps insisting Dead!Mike is responsible) -- it's plausible to me that Shanks would check into her original claims of abuse, if only to settle his own mind.

    (That also explains why he's so pissed at her near the end when the ceiling collapses on him.)

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  6. This was literally one of the worst movies I have seen since Farm House and Deadline. Both of which were fairly accurately reviewed on this site but I have to say that my good friend just dropped the ball on this one. What the fuck was that ghost?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Patrick Suaze was more frightening than that shit! Yeah! That fight scene was great! Again, I thought that was a joke at first. To be honest I was laughing when I first read this entry because I thought...surely this is satire. However, I was shockingly horrified to find that YOU WERE BEING SERIOUS. Long story short, scary two parts of the movie were looking up how to become and abortion doctor during the middle since I was bored and reading this review with subsequent comments after. However, I wills till faithfully read this wonderful blog. Thanks to all. NEVER WATCH THIS PIECE OF SHIT MOVIE EVER!!!!!

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