condemned

Review: CONDEMNED

condemnesCONDEMNED moves with beats and tone that is accelerated to the max. It’s a film that hits the ground running, and thrusts its characters into an infested fight for their lives. It’s also a very uneven and character development-lite approach. We see our protagonists go through hell in a single location, but we never get to really know who those said characters really are.

When Maya (Dylan Penn) is in the middle of a massive argument between her verbally abusive parents, her boyfriend, Dante (SOME KIND OF HATE star Ronen Rubinstein) has the answer: come stay with him. When Maya arrives at Dante’s place, she discovers that it’s a condemned building, and each room is inhabited with people who are off their rocker, to say the least. There’s a man who makes his bondage slave drink urine; A crack-addicted prostitute; and a landlord who insists that the residents of the illegal building all bring him random things.

It’s an odd setup, and the style of the film, with it’s frenetic editing and off the wall characters makes the film hard to latch onto, instead doing a good job of confusing its audience, even before an infection begins to take over the residents. By the time the odd, puss-filled warts and bumps begins to break out over the condemned apartment complex’s residents, as a viewer, it’s a little too much, too late.

It’s almost like we’re given too much to digest at a breakneck speed. It’s editing is akin to that MTV, fast and frenetic and hard to pay attention to, something that makes the film  difficult more than once. Performances from Rubinstein, Penn and Jon Abrahams are quite good, but unfortunately, their strong performances aren’t able to save the film from itself. One person in the building gets infected and the next thing you know, there are axes, knives and many other sharp objects all getting slashed and stuck into people, when the film becomes a gore-fest of heads and hands getting chopped off, intestines being ripped out, it’s over the top and unexpected from the films’ first half.

Gorehounds might like the dirty, trash-filled apartment complex. A complex that becomes the catalyst for extreme violence and an outbreak that affects its residents, it’s a blood and guts, warts and sore being popped festival of gore and grime, one that is impressive in the makeup effects area, but the fast editing approach to the film takes you away from the film’s plot and characters, which is unfortunate, because you can tel lthat director Eli Morgan Gesner is a talented director, CONDEMNED is just a film that missed its mark, which shouldn’t set the filmmaker back, he’s got chops and an eye for the camera and setting things. What sinks the film is the lack of character development and the focus being on grossing people out, instead of allowing you to grab onto the characters you like, we’re just getting given some good makeup effects and gore. This might not be the one, but if Gesner takes these things into consideration, I have a feeling his next film will be quite good.