Three criminals escape a failed bank robbery with hostages and flee to an some underground tunnels. They find there is no way out and a serial killer awaits them in the darkness.

The Lowdown

The movie starts off with a bank robbery that is botched when three police officer’s show up simply to pay their bills. Two of the officers are shot and killed and the criminals take three hostages, including the surviving police officer and two women, and head into underground tunnels to escape. Unfortunately, when they get down there they find they are trapped with no way out. Like all good horror movies, one of the criminals tells a horror story of mutants who were sent to the live in the tunnels in an attempt to scare the female hostages. Like the best in horror movies, what they find makes made-up horror stories seem like fairy tales in comparison.

How does the horror in this, the latest of Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Underground, turn out? It’s hit and miss. This is a slasher movie, but thankfully does not involve teenagers in peril. The movie, originally released back in 2007, looks to travel the same road as My Bloody Valentine 3-D, as the victims of the killer are trapped in underground tunnels. Even the cover art looks like what I saw in the trailers for the latest 3-D horror flick.

What makes a slasher movie work or fail are the kills and the acting involved. The kills are all done in a generic way, using quick cuts, slow motion and in one case a ridiculous amount of fog – in the abandoned underground tunnels. The aftermath of the murders include sliced up bodies with both eyes ripped out of the heads. The killer is large man that usually is seen in long distant, skewed shots as he approaches the camera. He wears a ski mask with goggles covering his eyes. There is only one inventive kill with a miner’s car, and it is even shot in a way that makes it uninteresting.

The acting is subpar. The criminals seem to be playing off the Reservoir Dogs styled dynamic and are all played quite well. One of the female hostages is there to add the scream queen mentality to the movie and she can scream, but neither of the girls are competent actresses. With cheap kills and subpar acting all that is left to save this movie is the direction.

The direction is very distracting and takes away from the movie. The use of slow motion, askew angles and sound effects are all done to manufacture scares. If you’re goal is to make a truly scary piece of cinema, you should not need to manufacture scares and this is the work of a director with no confidence in his story or his monster. The POV shots are annoying and the jump scares are all unnecessary. Even the scenes that should work are crippled by the lack of respectable direction.

There was one great moment in the movie when one of the hostages sees something and ends up mercilessly killing one of the other hostages. The rest of the script is just poorly written. The killer helps one of the hostages at one point but then kills another and torments the third. He also uses one of the bank robber’s submachine guns and later a blow torch. It’s just stupid. Showing the final scene, explaining who the killer is the last straw that broke this movie. This is a very bland and boring slasher movie.

The Package

I had a problem straight out of the box. The movie is a Russian film, but when I started to play it I got the dubbed track as the default. I was thrown off as soon as people started talking when the lips didn’t match the voices and the voice actors spoke with NO conviction whatsoever. Set the Russian audio track with English subtitles as before you start the DVD. That is how it should have been set in default anyway. Other than that, there is a shit ton of previews but nothing else.