Director/writer Darren Lynn Bousman has given us some of the worst films of the last few years (Saw II, III, and IV as well as Repo! The Genetic Opera). Now he returns with his latest mess, another attempt at a horror film that remains just that, an attempt. As per usual, his film provides a completely absurd plot that fits right along with the others, though surprisingly, this time he has managed to leave out the gratuitous amounts of blood he’s normally inclined to use.
11-11-11 tells the story of an author, Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs), who has lost his wife and son in a fire. He still has nightmares about it and attends regular group therapy. One day, he suddenly gets word from his brother, Samuel (Michael Landes), that their father (Denis Rafter) is dying. This brings him out to Barcelona where he apparently grew up. His brother, a preacher, holds regular services at their home, but Joseph, not being a religious man, takes no interest in them.
Lately, Joseph has been noticing that his life has begun to revolve around the number 11.11. It is the date of his mother’s death, the time he had a car accident shortly before coming to Spain, and the time when strange figures have been appearing in their lawn every night. As the mystery deepens, Joseph struggles to find out what the number means, which eventually leads him to believe that something terrible is going to happen on the approaching date of 11-11-11.
What perhaps ends up being most detrimental to 11-11-11 is that fact that it revolves around an incredibly dull plot which destroys the pacing from the very start. We’ve already watched a character obsess over a number before in The Number 23, but it didn’t work then, even with the help of Jim Carrey, and it still doesn’t work now mainly because the plot is just not interesting.
This is supposed to be a horror film, but it provides no scares. Even its attempts at “surprise moments” (i.e. something suddenly appears while there’s a loud bang on the soundtrack) don’t work that well because what it’s trying to show us just isn’t scary. The film mostly tries to provide scares through suspense, which again doesn’t work because of the plot, and the random appearance of hooded figures that are supposedly trying to get at Samuel. If this was all Bousman was going to give us in terms of attempted scares, he should have seen that it never would have worked.
The film itself seems more like a bad student film with its lazy writing and poor direction. What more than likely happened is that Bousman wanted to take advantage of a unique release date, but had trouble coming up with a story that would support it. It still amazes me that he is able to get work what with making one dud after the other, but as usual, it’s the box office that speaks louder than the quality of the film, so going by that, the Saw films became quite “successful.”
What ends up being more astonishing than the bad plot of the film is its completely ridiculous and nonsensical ending. I won’t give it away for the few of you who actually plan on seeing the film, but let’s just say you’ll more than likely find yourself either laughing hysterically or shaking your head in complete disbelief at the embarrassment of an ending that Bousman decided to attach to it.
I would say that I hope Bousman takes this as a lesson that he needs to develop better stories and characters, but after at least five films that show he has no interest in doing so, it seems like it would be of little use. With 11-11-11 he is merely insulting the audience with this poor excuse for a plot and its ludicrous ending. Perhaps he should try something completely new and outside of his usually genre like Roland Emmerich did with his recent great film Anonymous, because it’s clear his talents don’t lie in horror.
With 11-11-11, Darren Lynn Bousman is merely insulting the audience with this poor excuse for a plot and its ludicrous ending