New Horror Releases: Eloise (2017) – Reviewed

horror movieAvailable on VOD on February 3rd is the new horror film Eloise, about a group of four that break into an abandoned asylum in order to find a death certificate that will lead to one of them receiving a large inheritance. It is the feature length debut of VFX specialist Robert Legato, who has spent his career working with big directing names such as Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ron Howard, and Robert Zemeckis. Despite delivering an excellent overall look, nice production values, and a fine cast that includes Eliza Dushku and a former Terminator in Robert Patrick, the picture sadly suffers from a poor script with a head scratching third act that viewers will either love or hate. Ultimately, it just didn’t work for me.

The story is a patchwork attempt at making an excuse for this group of four to venture into the actual closed asylum known as Eloise, located just outside of Detroit, Michigan. It feels like a mashup of different subgenres and styles; it has elements of a heist, an adventure, a Rain Man type of character, comedy and behavior that at times made me recall the Scary Movie franchise, the asylum and haunted house subgenre, ghost and occult movies, and finally some sci-fi elements that cannot be discussed further without spoiling the whole plot. The third act and its twist is bold and endeavors to step away from the traditional conventions that you would expect in this subgenre, but it was just too ridiculous for me to accept. 

The directing, cinematography, and editing are all well done. Legato takes advantage of extravagant old antique cars, houses, and the actual Eloise buildings to up the production values and add some atmospheric shots throughout the motion picture. There is no doubt that he is talented and should continue to direct feature length films, he just needs something that is more grounded and has a polished script. 

The acting is good and features a core cast that is relatively well known. Dushku and Patrick both have name recognition, which is most likely why they were brought onto this project. Patrick has minimal screen time as the main characters are Dushku and Chace Crawford, who is best known for his time on Gossip Girl. Crawford plays the lead role and is more than effective. Rounding out the group of four that venture into the asylum are Brandon Jackson and P.J. Byrne. Byrne is terrific as Dushku’s brother who suffers from a mental disability that has him being referred to as Rain Man. Some may find his performance over the top, but I thought he was the most enjoyable part of this picture. There is relatively no violence or gore and the cheap scare attempts aren’t likely to freak anyone out, leaving most horror fans feeling disappointed. 

Did somebody  say  heist?

It’s hard to recommend that someone actually spend money to watch this on VOD or own it on Blu-ray/DVD, this is the type of movie that is best served to view on Netflix or Amazon Prime when it eventually makes it onto one of these platforms.

Spread the Dushku.

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