I try to find the good in all movies, even bad ones I don’t enjoy. I try not to just completely pan any film. However, I am really struggling to think of anything good about 11-11-11. I wanted to believe the movie would end up being better than the dumb title. I couldn’t have been wrong. This film is one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time, a complete failure in just about every way. It is poorly written, has a ridiculous plot, 5th-grade level symbolism, wooden and cliché performances, ridiculous special effects, and a complete lack of scares and suspense. This film will neither satisfy you as a horror film or respect your intelligence. It is a waste of time that will make you feel dumber and make you angry you wasted your precious time on it. It deals with a lot of apocalyptic scenes and if the Apocalypse does come soon, make sure this isn’t the last movie you watch.
Timothy Gibbs stars as Joseph Crone, a popular writer who makes it clear he doesn’t believe in God at every possible opportunity. He has stopped writing except in a journal after his wife and son had died in a fire caused by a crazed fan. His father and brother Samuel (Michael Landes) are highly religious men who have their own church. Samuel is wheelchair-bound, but is stong in his faith. Joseph visits his brother and father in Spain as his father is terminally ill and hasn’t long to live. While there, Joseph is plagued by demonic visions and events keep happening involving the numbers “11-11”. This was also the date his son and wife were killed.
Joseph holds true to his lack of religious beliefs as much as possible, but the events become too real and too repetitive to possibly be coincidental. He learns that something is going to happen on (you guessed it) November 11th, 2011. This event involves the forces of good and evil colliding and possibly the end of the world. Also there is a female character in there who is kind of a love interest (Wendy Glenn) but serves no purpose to the plot and there are no real romantic scenes. The mystery continues to unravel in completely obvious fashion and leads to a climax involving a twist the audience will never see coming…because of its sheer stupidity.
I wish I could say it more eloquently, but I can’t: This film is stupid…relentlessly stupid. I use the word also because it reflects the level of intelligence the filmmakers assume the audience has. All the “clues” are so blatantly obvious and shoved at the audience’s face it’s insulting. Also everything that is happening is explained in seemingly endless detail.
I am disappointed in director and writer Darren Lynn Bousman. Sure, he’s no John Carpenter, but he made three very fun and clever films in the Saw series. However, this is the first major feature he has written by himself, and in his first solo writing effort he fails completely. The dialogue is basic and full of exposition. The characters don’t talk about anything but the plot, and when the plot is completely unoriginal, the dialogue comes off as stale and boring. The actors don’t find themselves with much to work with but no one looks overly excited to be there either. This movie just has no life to it.
The “scares” often have no adequate buildup, and are ruined by either being false scares or by demonic images that are so poorly made it’s impossible to be scared by them. Most films that don’t focus on creating interesting characters or a unique plot at least put a little effort into the special effects. Granted, the budget probably wasn’t very large, but horror films are the best of any genre at creating cool special effects using simple techniques.
Even at only 90 minutes, the film manages to be extremely boring. It just meanders from scene to scene. It’s a very “talky” movie, and when the talking going on lacks any wit or intelligence, that makes for a tough watch. There isn’t any comic relief either, and it is clear this film takes itself far too seriously to be effective. Many bad movies at least give us the courtesy of being so inept that they are entertaining for that reason. But “so bad it’s good” movies feature people putting a lot of effort into a movie and being too far over-the-top and failing. This movie seems to be going through the motions.
I honestly can’t think of anything good to say about this film. Of all the movies I have seen from the year 2011, this is the worst. A horror film needs to have one or both of these elements to succeed: horror or fun. Many can do both well, or a film can be just as good focusing on one style and doing it well. When a horror film isn’t scary at all and also is completely unentertaining, we get a film that is a complete waste of time. Most films, even if bad, can give us some justification for watching. You won’t learn anything, it won’t make you think, you won’t be scared, you won’t laugh, and you won’t be engrossed in the story.
All we can hope is that this film is some kind of anomaly. Maybe Bousman really can write a competent film and this was just a misfire. I am not ready to completely him off yet, but I am ready to write off 11-11-11 and will luckily completely forget about what I saw when I start a new film, if not before. Perhaps the one saving grace of this film is that it is so forgettable, so I won’t keep having to remember the precious time I wasted watching it. There’s just nothing here to like, I can’t imagine many people out there truly enjoying this. I must give this my absolute highest recommendation to avoid, and I don’t hesitate giving it the lowest possible rating.