Horror movie reviews are my thing, but I do also have some basic construction knowledge. For a good strong building, you need deep foundations, structure supporting beams, and ultimately a roof and some walls. However, as far as I’m aware it’s not necessary to bury humans in those walls. Although (fictional architect) Joseph Malestrazza would probably argue this.
After building his magnificent, pyramid themed, imaginatively named, Malestrazza building, Joseph and/or one of his tenants set about burying people alive in the concrete, making them part of the building. It isn’t an easy task, and soon the plan is rumbled, the parties punished and the building is given a date for destruction.
Enter the OC’s Mischa Barton as Sam Walczak, a troubled looking, graduate and unlikely demolition expert.
Her father owns the company responsible for bringing the building down, and as a sign of trust, daddy gets Sam to scout out the building and prove her worth.
For some reason, rather than only needing a day for this, and instead of taking a couple of people with her for assistance Sam wants to go alone.And she’s quite willing to spend about a week there, even though it is probably about as hospitable and welcoming as Alcatraz, without windows.
There are still 4 tenants in the building (all of them nuts) and it doesn’t take long for Sam to forget about her job and become more interested in the mystery of the bodies in the walls.
And as things get progressively worse, she doesn’t run away and think “forget this, let’s just take this building down”. Course not. She thinks “Okay, I’m feeling increasingly threatened. I’m going to stay in this big, ugly, evil building even longer”.
It’s a funny film. I can sort of see what appealed to director, Gilles Paquet-Brenner. The big horrible building, the deranged residents, the claustrophobia, the whole buried alive thing…
And visually, the film is pretty much spot on. The scenery is bleak, the building ominous and nightmarish and the general story, not the worst that I have had to sit through.
What lets this film down though is the acting.
I’ve never seen the OC, but assumed from her press coverage that Mischa Barton must have some acting skill.
But in Walled In, she is unconvincing, a little wooden and even a little confusing at times. It’s hard to figure our what sort of person Sam, our main character, is. Weak, strong, stupid, intelligent. It seems to change from minute to minute.
Cameron Bright playing Jimmy, the creepy son of the caretaker isn’t much better. Okay, he’s disturbed and weird, but he’s also lacking of any complexity – as is the film. With a maze-like, tomb of a building as a setting, there is loads of potential for all sorts of disturbing twists and mind games. But the film is surprisingly lacking in them.
We’ve all done it; after seeing something creepy in a horror film, turning to the person next to you and saying “Right, if it was me, I’d be leaving that haunted house” etc.
Well, this happens a lot in Walled In. Too much in fact. With all the blatant signals that Sam is given to ‘get out’, you as the viewer soon bore of them and will undoubtedly end up saying “oh forget it, just stay there and die. I don’t care anymore”.
Walled In is another example of a good idea, which has sufficient funding, but is let down by poor casting and irritating plot holes. Visually excellent, but lacking in depth and imagination.
Watching Walled In, you’re unlikely to be drawn in.
Additional film information: Walled In (2009)