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April Monique Burril
Five young people apply to live in an isolated house together for six months whilst their every move is filmed by numerous cameras. Each has their reason for wanting to be there - fame, money, adventure. The prize - $1 million. The rules - if one person leaves, everyone loses. It becomes the ultimate morality test. When Danny's beloved grandfather dies, does his greed overcome his love? When the skittish Emma finds blood on her pillow why does she still stay behind? And what dark secret does the house harbour that leaves them feeling as though they're being watched by more than just a million pairs of eyes?Written by
A nice concept delivered with great tension but sadly lacking in substance, commentary and development
One house. Five people. Six months. One million dollars. A reality show webcast offers five young people the opportunity to make money by staying in a house for six months with the only catch being that if any of them leave then none of them win anything. After some time in the house with loads of boredom, one of them gets a letter saying his grandfather has died. He wants to leave but nobody wants to make it that easy for him to blow all their money. When bricks get delivered instead of supplies and a stranger who happens by the house says he has never seen or even heard of their reality show, alarm bells start to ring.
When this came out I just assumed it was a slasher movie that decided to try and ride the wave of reality show popularity all the way to the box office. Even if that was the case, it didn't really work and this film didn't do a great deal of business in the UK although respectable returns considering it was low budget anyway. The film takes a very "Blair Witch" approach to things by being pretty unnerving rather than out and out scary or gory. The director cleverly uses the angles and grainy appearance of Big Brother (night vision included) to invoke the feeling of the series but also to raise the tension. It is a bit of a gimmick but it does work because, despite it showing its budget, the cuts and the angels do raise tension.
The problem is that the plot is never as good as it should have been. It goes where you expect it to do and there isn't much more to it than that. The film could easily have been making a point about the exploitative nature of such reality shows, the type of people that go on them and the sort of things that we turn in to watch (lets be honest the fights and the sex). It does these if you think about it but the delivery lacks the intelligence that the concept potentially had. It is a shame because this would have been better if it had had this commentary because it would have covered up for the lack of substance, plot and development of the film. The cast are fairly average which suits the reality TV feel of the film.
Overall then this is a film all about atmosphere and tension well handled by director Evans. The concept offers commentary but the film delivers none or very little; what remains is a simple thriller in the low budget mould of Blair Witch. As such it works for the majority of the running time on atmosphere alone but the descent in the final 20 minutes didn't really work for me. An interesting film for this aspect but sadly lacking in things like commentary, substance, development and total worth.
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