Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: Nine Miles Down (2009)


“Not for me, science only adds to the wonder of a sunset and everything else in the world. I don't see how it can take away.”

Director: Anthony Waller
Starring: Adrian Paul, Amanda Douge and Anthony Waller
Writers: Everett De Roche, Anthony Waller

Humanity accidently tapping into hell is always a movie idea great for exploration. Event Horizon, Hellraiser, even the cheesiness of 976-Evil where a phone is a direct line to Satan has some charm. So we come now to Nine Miles Down where a drilling station in the Sahara Desert may have tapped directly into hell. Queue evil laughter.

Security Expert Thomas Jackman goes to investigate what seems to be an abandoned drilling station. He finds weird writing on the walls, religious symbolism strewn throughout the complex and a few corpses. While investigating this disturbing scene he runs across lone survivor Jennie Christianson. Taking refuge till help arrives, reality starts to come crashing down as Thomas is assaulted with hellish visions.

What could have been an interesting story is Waller’s lack of subtlety. That’s not to say he gives away the ending but both cases for Thomas being insane and him being in hell are so over the top that the movie comes of as a confusing mess rather than thought provoking. Also the back story of Thomas is laughable in it’s over the top intensity. In the right hands this story could have been something; instead its try’s to make lofty statements without any of the work associated with the endeavour.

To make things worse the acting is incredibly bad. Adrian Paul plays Thomas, and while he’s never been the best actor, he’s certainly done a better job in other B Grade movie fare. Where as the character needed to be played low key, Mr Paul just hams it up and I was laughing at his more serious scenes because of it. Amanda Douge as Jennie does a better job, but there isn’t much for her to do. Seeming she is the focus for Thomas’s insanity or journey into hell, she has to play innocent victim and devil. So while she isn’t awful she’s never really convincing in both aspects.

Visually the movie does a lot better. The setting is an interesting one as it’s so isolated, and yet is a place that is real. Some of the hellish visions are effective, and there are some jump scares which work, but sometimes the ideas are bigger than the budget and come off very very cheap. Also as I stated Waller just goes way over the top so a lot of the visuals enter into cheesy territory that is more suited for a movie that is blatantly set in hell, rather than a movie that is trying to straddle the line between supernatural and insanity.

This isn’t a movie I would recommend, no real positives that would make it worth your while. I can’t even recommend it for people who like watching really bad movies. It’s badly acted and badly put together. It tries to walk a delicate balance but there isn’t the right skill level to accomplish it. Just avoid.

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