Well, it’s Day 3 of the 31 Days of Horror challenge. I’m not sure if it’s an official challenge, but I’m taking it upon myself to attempt to watch a horror movie every day throughout the month of October. Going one step further, I’m trying to watch films that I’ve never seen before.
For Monday, Oct. 3 I chose The Cellar (2022). It’s another Shudder original and stars Elisha Cuthbert as Keira Woods. The rest of the cast is well rounded out as well with Eoin Macken as Brian Woods, Abby Fitz as Ellie Woods, and Dylan Fitzmaurice Brady as Steven Woods.
The description of the film is as follows, according to IMDb, “Keira Woods’ daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new house. She soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family’s souls forever.”
I’ll be writing my reactions of this film in real time. There may or may not be spoilers, but I will try to keep them light, and I won’t spoil the ending. With all of that out of the way, let’s start The Cellar.
The first thing I’m thinking is not how creepy the family’s new house is. I’m thinking about the fact that movie families can go through all the effort of house hunting, putting in offers, getting inspections and appraisals done, and all that other stuff that goes into buying a home but not once does anything bad show up that would send red flags to the family prior to them entering the home.
The film opens with mother, Keira, and daughter, Ellie, at odds right off the bat. As the family explores their new home, Ellie asks the question, “What’s in there?” to which the father answers “The Cellar.” Less than six minutes into the film and we have the first instance of someone saying the title. I should definitely note that in each film. In fact, they didn’t say it in Day #1 or Day #2 so The Cellar would win so far.
Ellie gets stuck in the cellar and is instantly afraid of the darkness looming at the bottom of the stairs. Shots from the camera’s POV slowly climbing the staircase mixed with the families attempts at getting Ellie out of there mixes nicely to add tension to the creepy situation. Of course, Ellie isn’t harmed yet because it’s only seven minutes into the 94-minute film. This scene, however, serves as the foreboding future.
Turns out, the son’s room has a weird secret room that’s filled with bones and an old abacus. Oh, and an old record player that Ellie and Steven just happen to play. The recording seems to be some sort of mathematical equation.
The POV of the supernatural entity reminds me of Sam Raimi’s work on the Evil Dead franchise.
When all the power goes out, Ellie is forced to go down to the cellar to check the fuse box. Keira and Brian are at work. Keira is on the phone with Ellie throughout this scene. The funny thing is that Ellie is speaking to her mom on her cellphone while holding a candle. She says that she can’t see anything… most likely because the candle doesn’t provide the necessary light. If only she had an electronic device that could shine a brighter beam of light while at the same time allow for communication with family members.
There’s a decently creepy scene that chronicles Ellie’s descent into the cellar.
The mom and dad rush home and enter the cellar. Flipping the power back on, they discover that Ellie has disappeared. The obligatory montage of people searching the woods for her follows, but it doesn’t help anything.
Keira maintains that Ellie didn’t run away despite the police and her husband believing that to be the case. While exploring the cellar with a black light, she discovers some interesting wall art. That was pretty cool, having the characters use a blacklight.
This is a slow boil of a plot which may or may not be beneficial to the film overall. There are a lot of creepy happenings that Keira experiences, but I’m wondering if all of them needed to be included in the final cut.
Oh, I think I’ve worked it out. I think I know how Ellie disappeared. It’s actually quite brilliant. Keira starts to dig into the history of the building and tries to decipher some of the strange markings that have been found around the house.
The plot picks up again when Steven gets stuck in the cellar after the power runs out. There’s a fairly good jump scare that occurs so beware.
The film does a good job at building that suspense.
Again, the husband thinks his wife is crazy when presented with the truth. I talked a little bit about this in yesterday’s review.
As the film enters into its third act, I had to rewind it in a couple spots because I had fallen asleep. Like I said above, it’s very slow-moving. However, when it does decide to pick up, it’s very interesting.
Overall, I thought The Cellar was a pretty interesting movie that mixed science with religion in a unique way that I hadn’t seen before. The acting was solid. The special effects were on par with mainstream horror. The ending was one that I didn’t see coming.
31 Days of Horror Rankings
- Watcher (2022)
- The Cellar (2022)
- Revealer (2022)