Don’t Look In The Cellar 2008
Directed by: Dennis Devine
Starring: Laura Artolachipi, Shevaun Kasti, Tara Shayne
Review by Luisjo González
You know, being a critic especially a slasher movie critic is a f**king tough job. I don’t get paid, I’m not making money from adverts and I have to watch some f**king s**t to make sure you guys and dolls don’t ruin your evenings. I never usually complain, but this weekend saw me sit down in front of Don’t Look In the Cellar and it was worse than getting arrested. When you break the law and get caught, they put you in a cell by yourself for as long as 24 hours. You have nothing to read, only one phone call and time moves slower than a disabled tortoise.
Dennis Devine directed this one and if you recognise that name, it’s likely because I’ve previously written about him. He was in the hot-seat for a couple of pictures that I’ve already covered. His debut was the haunted-camera slasher, Fatal Images. He finished the eighties with the decent heavy metal-flick, Dead Girls. He also made the ambitious and thus far unreleased, Bloodstream. Interestingly enough, I used to speak with his filmmaking partner, fellow-owner of his former studio, Cinematrix cinema. Of course, I’m talking about slasher fan, author/director and all-round cool guy, Steven Jarvis. We chatted for a few years and became friends. He sent me some slashers to review, but because of work, it took me a while to get through them. When I emailed him three times for his address to send them back in late 2017 and early 2018, he never replied. It’s now 2021 and I’ve heard nada. I’m disappointed, because I liked him and wasn’t sure what I did to make him ignore me. I may have upset him in one of my comments on his work, but I’m never trying to be personal when I explain how I felt from a movie experience. It’s just my honest opinion on whether I enjoyed what they put together. Some of you peeps might not like what I write, but that’s your decision. I try to describe how the average viewer may feel whilst watching a production. If I’m critical, it’s not a direct cuss on their intelligence/personality or life as a member of the homo species. I suppose, you readers can see that I pull no punches in my mission statement to give you a legitimate opinion on what I view.
Anyway, Mr Devine’s downward career trajectory needs to be discussed. He went from making some exciting slasher movies in a back-garden Argento type way, to becoming just another David Sterling hack. He was a talented and energetic filmmaker, but he began knocking out dime-store flicks with minimal quality that received no end of negative publicity. David Sterling, of course, is the guy that refused to fund $20 for a prop that was key to one of his stories. He’s produced almost 150 movies, including Camp Blood, Dead 7 and Maniacal. Interestingly enough, he wasn’t involved with Boris Pavlovsky’s Granny from 1999.
A group of college students sneak into an old asylum on Halloween. One by one they encounter Smiley, a hooded killer who was once a patient there…
So basically, we’re back in the galaxy where abandoned places still have running electricity, zero cobwebs and fresh food. I would love to meet the billionaire that pays the bills for important story locations from this film, Doom Asylum and Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming. In the dimension where this story takes place though, an asylum is identical to a normal house in suburbia. Don’t expect to see wards, sterilisers, medical tables, hospital beds, tablets, stethoscopes, medicines, doctors, surgeons and the like. Here we get ordinary kitchens, cupboards and bedrooms just like the place you live within. I didn’t see any nurses or psychiatrists, but I saw a cat toy next to the front door in the living room. In fact, I was unaware mental institutions even had living rooms. I was in a brain injury place for fifteen months after my accident, and they’re like asylums. I can report that it didn’t have cats, salons, a small family-size kitchen and bedrooms. It makes me ask, how do they treat mental health in this galaxy? You just get placed in some random house for a while? How is that meant to solve your issues?
Allegedly this particular sanctuary for the psychologically sick was closed down 10 years ago after two murders. We get to see these killings in the pre-credits. One girl is stabbed three times in the gut and we view her lifeless body splattered in blood. Her buddy is presumably dispatched off screen, because she was warned not to go in the basement, which she ignores, and then we see Smiley (the antagonist) splash her crimson all over the wall. What’s the problem with that, you ask? Well, in the first scene after the titles, both characters, same names and everything, are the main players in the plot once again, even though we just saw them get splatted(?). We’re even later told they left the house alive, but that’s not what we witnessed. If it was an urban legend and they’re not dead, why was the asylum closed down? Also, if this psychiatric refuge is no longer open, why are there still two patients there? Why isn’t it surrounded with a 6ft fence? Why is there no demolition team knocking it down? If the pre-credits stuff that I mentioned earlier never happened, why did one of the asylum members recognise the same girls that we saw hacked up in the opening? Answers on a postcard please…??? I’ve got two degrees, including a master’s in evolution, but maybe I’m not smart enough for this crap. I’m just too stupid to handle a killer who’s mask is covered in blood when he chops someone’s hand off, but in he next scene, it’s totally spotless. The whole premise of the story is that the kids are trapped in this place and can’t get out. No escape! Well, we can clearly see handles on the windows and doors, but they only try one of them.
Aside from the fact that my six (nearly seven) year-old, daughter could write a more logical screenplay, the script is only the beginning of the problems here. Only one member of the cast can actually perform a bit and the girls are all unattractive and flat chested. The blonde lead is a train-wreck of a human being and the most horrendous ‘actress’ in the 4.5 billion years of planet earth’s history. You could beat the speed of light, go back 300,000 años, grab a Neanderthal, f**k that; you can go further in the past,1.5 million years and grab a Homo Erectus, put him in front of the camera and I bet he’d give a more convincing performance than that blonde, blue-eyed hag. Also, I spent the entire runtime trying to work out if the other mental patient that wasn’t the killer, was a girl or a guy? It had a female voice, but was bigger built than Mariusz Pudzianski and had a bizarre man’s mullet for a hairstyle. I noticed that one of the chicas (the only good looking one who can actually act) had an accent, so I searched on IMDB and found out she’s an Andaluza like me. I wrote to her on Instagram, but she hasn’t seen it yet. I’ll update the blog when she does.
IMDB says this feature had a budget of $1,200,000 – WHAT??? What the f**k did they spend that cash on, cocaine? Did they have a huge session in the basement and call 50 prostitutes? Let’s break this down to the sum of its parts. Let’s predict that they rented two cameras for a three week shoot, you’re looking at €60,000. The cast are mainly amateurs and they’re working for David Sterling, so let’s say they got $25,000 each. That’s £400,000 for all of them. The whole thing was 100% shot in some kind of house in Los Angeles, so let’s say they rented said abode for 504 hours, (although it likely belonged to Dennis Devine), $100,000. So we’re missing about half a million dollars for f**k’s sake. On the plus side, there’s a twist that I didn’t guess and a huge number of slaughters. Fans of bad movie giggles will like the part where one guy gets his hand chopped off and it kills him stone dead! You can clearly see his fist hidden in his sleeve😂.
I have zero idea why Dennis Devine still makes this tosh; it’s hardly going to lead him to Hollywood. You can mock me, by saying, wouldn’t I do the same thing if I was given the opportunity, and I’ll answer like this. Give me a budget of $1,200,000 and I would not hire one of these flat chested,
talentless strumpets. I’d also retake each scene multiple times until I got something that looked at least part realistic. My script would have concrete logic and a fearsome killer. If David Sterling is reading and thinks I’m all talk, well you know where my email address is located, try me… I really didn’t enjoy this rubbish. It’s basically a load of average looking, flat chested crap actors, one better looking Andaluza girl and they’re all quoting horrendous dialogue in David Sterling’s house. This film is really the lowest of the low and Dennis Devine, a director that’s usually full of energy, shoots like he’s overdosed on 800mg tablets of tamazipan or smoked grade A heroin. Don’t pick up this one, brothers and sisters. Skip it. I’m off to the mental hospital to have a check up. I posted a picture of it above on the right. 😂😂😂