100 Feet DVD Review
Written and Directed by Eric Red
2008, Region 1 (NTSC), 103 minutes, Unrated
DVD released on October 6th, 2009
Famke Janssen as Marnie
Bobby Cannavale as Shanks
Ed Westwick as Joey
Michael Paré as Mike
Marnie Watson (Famke Janssen) is serving the final year of her prison sentence under house arrest in the same home where she murdered Mike (Michael Paré), her abusive cop husband. A fashionable ankle bracelet keeps her tethered within a 100-foot radius of the security monitor that will notify the police if she exceeds this distance for more than three minutes. Things could always be worse…oh yeah, the house is now haunted — by Mike.
As if she didn’t have enough problems, Marnie now has to deal with additional pressures: the place is filled with bad memories, the neighbors scowl as they pass her windows, and her late husband’s partner, Shanks (Bobby Cannavale) is on permanent stakeout across the street waiting for her to fail. The only positive element in Marnie’s life is Joey (Ed Westwick), the delivery boy who may offer more than casual flirtation.
Within a day of her arrival the flatware is flying, as the ghost of her husband resumes kicking the shit out of her on a regular basis. As Marnie begins to show signs of physical abuse, Shanks starts to believe that she is covering for someone who may have framed her for killing his partner and is now threatening her to keep her quiet. If only things that implausible were the case.
What could have started out as a nice piece on isolation and the horrors of being trapped in the house where Marnie suffered domestic violence instead forces the CGI ghost angle. There is a corruption subplot that further demeans the Shanks character, in that while he is a true-blue policeman, he is clueless that his former partner was a wife beater who was also on the take. It actually takes a corpse falling on Shanks before he is willing to believe Marnie’s story.
Famke Janssen is fantastic in this role as a tough but sympathetic woman audiences will pull for as she encounters some truly frightening phenomena. She convincingly tries not only to figure out what is happening, but also how to escape without help. Her character is on screen 90% of the time and never wavers in her sincerity, although some of Marnie’s confrontations with Shanks are over-the-top and shrill. I must blame writer/director Eric Red as these actors are stronger than the material.
100 Feet is filled with promise, but sadly squanders a lot of opportunities by going for the instant gratification scare instead of following through on some decent suspense. There are some very nice set pieces throughout the film that make the shortcomings all the more glaring. Glimpses of cinematic beauty are overshadowed by pacing and direction. Eric Red (The Hitcher, Near Dark) has written better scripts than this one, but he has grown as a director since his earlier work on films like Bad Moon and Body Parts.
The film takes a few wrong turns along the way to its bone-headed finale that is completely out of place and feels as tacked on as it likely was. There are enough strong sequences to recommend the film, including a standout variation on the scenario of a man catching his wife cheating. The interaction Janssen shares with the abusive ghost is quite nice, and this would be a better movie if only the script would have allowed this relationship to play out to the fullest.
Video and Audio:
The DVD provides a solid 2:35 anamorphic transfer that brings out nice detail in the picture, with strong blacks and rich colors. Audio is presented in a 5.1 surround option that is deceptively quiet for large portions of the feature, but performs nicely when called into service. A 2-channel stereo mix is also provided, but will likely be ignored.
Oddly light for The Asylum, the only thing here is the spoiler-heavy trailer that reveals everything you could ever want to know about 100 Feet in under two minutes.
Eric Red returns to cinema with a bit of a heavy hand, but successfully brings a variation to the haunted house theme that is likely to entertain. The ghostly image of Mike is revealed almost immediately, which is unfortunate as there are several directions the film could have taken before showing the actual spook.
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