BASEMENT

0.5 out of 10

Release Date: 19th August 2010

Director: Asham Kamboj

Cast: Danny Dyer, Kierston Wareing, Jimi Mistry, Emily Beecham, Soraya Radford with Lois Winstone and Chris Ellison

Writer: Ewen Glass

Trailer: BASEMENT

I was hoping this was going to be similar to Severance, but from the moment I saw a sped up dog running around a bush for supposedly horror-tastic effect I knew I was in trouble.  Now I hate to kick a man when he’s down, but every time I think I’ve seen Danny Dyer’s (DEVIATION) worst film I come across one that makes the last one look like a Coen Brothers film (= brilliant!)  First I saw 7Lives and I was agog, then out came Deviation which was his worst by a long chalk, but now I unearth this incomprehensible, amateurish and very boring horror flick, Basement.  It certainly is rock bottom for all concerned. If Danny Dyer is capable of turning up in a worse film, he deserves an award of some kind.  He’s going to places DVD dustbin heroes like Christopher Lambert or Wesley Snipes would never ever dare to go.  Maybe I’m watching his movies in an order of quality or lack of.  But Basement is so oh oh ohhhhh bad you’ll wish you could un-watch it.  At an hour and ten minutes it’s also the shortest feature film to have a cinema release I know of.  I was grateful that it was this short but it still felt like a movie three times the length.

The plot is a mess. Five student activists stop in a forest for a wee and discover an underground bunker. Not a basement!  They climb down the ladder to find that they are locked into a labyrinth of dank corridors with walls that seem to secrete sh*t and blood.  What’s more is that they are being stalked.  The reasons why they are being stalked are hilariously convoluted and it was hard not to laugh with derision at the ending.  Actually, I did laugh hard at the TV screen.  Only Kierston Wareing (LOVE BITE) puts in a good performance, but the plot and script betrays everyones every move.  The struggling five trip up, twist ankles, suffer deep wounds, black out only to be running around without a care in the world a few seconds or minutes later.  Characters get bloody or get poo on themselves only to be playing with their hair or necklaces in the very next shot. There is zero care taken to establish any of the characters. Some helpful flashbacks at the end to re-cap on parts of the twist we may have missed replay an actor over-emphasising three key words to jaw droppingly dumb effect. Oh my god. The reasoning behind the whole set up is ill thought out and very poorly executed.  All of the cast, Dyer included, are capable of so much better and have proved so. But these are career worsts for all concerned.  Lucky old Lois Winstone (FATHERS OF GIRLS) gets to sit the majority of it out.  A nice paycheck and some wise words from her Dad probably saved her bacon.  Besides the sped up dog I have to point up that the only part to get the emotions flowing are when Jimi Mistry (BLOOD DIAMOND) gets kicked in the balls.  It’s an acting masterclass of hilarity.  Someone should youtube this bit alone to save anyone seeing the rest of Basement.

0.5 out of 10 – Basement is quite easily the worst UK horror movie (with name actors in) that you’ll ever see.  Yes, I am including Dead Cert and The Reverend.  I wasn’t sure it could be done but here it is. I wish I’d been warned off but now that I’ve seen it for the greater good, please take my advice.  Avoid, like any normal person would if they found a ladder going down into a dark hole in the middle of a forest. Cinematic Savile.

READ JOE PESCI II’s counter review below —> A contender to oust Plan 9 From Outer Space as worst film ever made? Surely not!

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?

One thought on “BASEMENT

  1. Review by Joe Pesci II – great fun.

    In 1959 PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE was made, a film whose reputation grew to such an extent that by the late 70s it was regarded as The Worst Film of All Time™. I hope, gentle reader, that after reading this review you may feel moved to seek out BASEMENT and spread the word. For BASEMENT is far worse, and I truly hope that one day this miserable abhorrence may supplant its inglorious predecessor; and for that hope to come to fruition, some folk need to see it. And that means you. I’ve done my bit.

    The premise is pretty standard: some (somewhat mature) students (returning from an anti-war demo – this is significant) stop in the forest to exercise their genitalia (toilet break for Danny Dyer/ other genital-related activities for dodgy Derek) and end up down a well (well, it’s not a well, more of a bunker, or BASEMENT as the title would have it, but really it seems to be a subterranean toilet) where unseen villains kill them off one by one in the time-honoured fashion. So what makes this film so much worse than all the other films which have the same synopsis? In brief: the plot, dialogue, filming, acting, set, and most of all, the explanation.

    Yes, the explanation. For there is a twist of such staggering unexpectedness, such bizarre logic that you will doubt your own sanity as it’s explained by Miss Exposition at the end. SPOILER ALERT. You know how films like FIGHT CLUB dare you to watch them again to see how it all fits together? This is the case here. But the twist is so nutty that I think I should tell you what it is, so you can watch the film second time round without having to watch it for the first time.

    The British army is facing a recruitment crisis due to the media and students going on about illegal wars and combat mistakes. (Last I heard recruitment was up, and that was at the height of our military commitments/blunders but never mind.) Therefore the army have started cloning people. If I understand this right, the dead twin sister of Emily Beecham and possibly Kierston Wareing’s identical cousin who she dropped on a font (I got a bit confused at that point) may be amongst the clones. These clones are now in the BASEMENT waiting for people to come along and get killed. Of course, the BASEMENT is in the middle of nowhere, so it’s tricky getting people to go down there. So the army get Dyer to sign his life away (dead soldier dad made him sad) and entice some students into the BASEMENT. He gets very lucky indeed in that some of the clones just happen to be made from the same genes as the students he’s brought with him. He’s even luckier in that he doesn’t have to persuade Jimi Mistry and Lois Winstone to go down into the BASEMENT because they went down there of their own accord in the first place; why remains a mystery (a Mistry mystery); after all there was plenty of perfectly good woodland to cover up their shenaniganning. So, the army is training clones to kill people in a toilet in Hampshire, using resolutely horror-movie style methods (mostly involving disembowelling pregnant women). Couldn’t they have just enrolled at Sandhurst?

    This loony plot revelation is great fun, and our journey to it is aided by a film whose technical resources are few, and whose imagination is nil. Maybe when they were constructing the set they thought the darkness and atmosphere would hide the fact that they didn’t have enough set. Consequently, what is meant to be an endless mysterious labyrinth cocooning our heroes in a web of despair and death seems to be more of a short corridor with a bathroom at one end. When our heroes (who have been indicating their path using lipstick, just like Theseus and Hansel) find themselves back where they started the only surprising thing is that they’re surprised. Every now and again characters pair off to have important conversations which have been clunkily dropped into the script from a great height. Worst of all is the one where Beecham goes on about her dead twin sister and her secret pregnancy (odious banker Derek is the dad) for no reason whatsoever. They agree to keep this secret from Derek who’s about a foot away.

    If this was a student or amateur film it would have been atrocious. But this was made at Pinewood. With proper actors. Actors I’ve heard of. Actors I like. (OK I didn’t recognise Mistry and assumed he was a friend of the producer as his performance is one of the worst I’ve ever seen, rivalled only by certain other members of this cast). Mind you, Emily Beecham does at least have the excuse of being saddled with quite extraordinarily poor dialogue: ‘’I’ve got a plan. Let’s find Saffron then find a way out.’ (This is presented as a serious plan, not as the sarcasm the writer presumably intended. Surely the writer might have mentioned this to the director, what with them being the same person.) My other favourite line is from Derek: ‘You wouldn’t say boo to a ghost.’

    Winstone luckily gets killed early on, but is extremely irritating, and her student-talk about telling ‘Brahn’ what they think about the war helps to date the film disastrously. Meanwhile Kierston Wareing is playing against type as the mousy one. It doesn’t work. Perhaps with the guidance of a director who could direct it may have worked, but you’re just waiting for her to go ballistic, and indeed she does (and Mistry’s testicles are the main victim of her ire and his comedy reaction to the assault is an exquisite masterclass in how not to do ‘ouch-that-hurt’ acting). Sadly, Wareing’s mousy acting seems to involve biting her finger nails, which is unlikely if you find your hand covered in excrement (there is no explanation for (a) why the walls seem to be defecating or (b) why any of the characters feel compelled to plunge their hands into the mess). Which brings me to Danny Dyer. I just hope he had a good time making this lamentable disaster.

    And yet. It is watchable, in a car-crash kind of way. As each line of risibly improbable dialogue is delivered, you wait, breath bated, to see if anything worse can be uttered (the answer is yes). As credulity stretches beyond the point of acceptance into some sort of Lewis Carroll land of make-believe, you wonder if it can all get any more unlikely (the answer is yes). You will wonder why the BASEMENT is so well-lit yet characters will assume it has been unused for years; you will wonder why, in such a well-lit BASEMENT, the clones are running around wearing goggles which make it seem dark (there is no explanation). You wonder too if it’ll all be worth it in the end: will our heroes find catharsis or closure; will we the audience feel that we are in some way better people for the experience (the answer is no). But you’ll have a good giggle. SEE THIS FILM!

    1 out of 10

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