The Basement follows the plight of successful guitarist, Craig Owen (Cayleb Long), who is out picking up some champagne for his wife when the notorious Gemini Killer (Jackson Davis) kidnaps him. Craig wakes up, tied to a chair, in a basement. Gemini forces Craig to take part in some role-playing, where Craig plays the killer and Gemini plays several other characters. Craig tries to resist but the killer beats and mutilates him until he plays along. Craig must find a way to manipulate the twisted killer and escape from The Basement.
I really wasn’t expecting much from The Basement, but the moment we got our first introduction to the Gemini Killer, I was intrigued. It’s a very memorable and creepy introduction to the best character in the film. Jackson Davis gives a fantastic range of performances as he bounces around between characters, such as a detective, a lawyer, a prison guard, and even his own mother. Davis shines every time he is on screen and we get plenty of him chewing the scenery. It’s a very fun performance and the highlight of the film.
Our lead, Cayleb Long, does a fine job playing Craig as well. At first, I was getting frustrated with his character as he resisted Gemini’s games, but he started playing along quickly enough. Once Craig bought into the game, the movie got far more interesting. It was great watching Craig reaching to try and manipulate each of Gemini’s characters into letting him go. As his situation gets more and more dire, Long’s performance gets better and better. The more emotional he got, the more I felt for his character. Considering he spends most of the film tied to a chair, it’s a solid performance.
The gore aspect is actually pretty solid as well. The torture of Craig is fairly brutal and some scenes are hard to watch. The blood and gore effects look amazing. There’s even a fantastic looking fake head thrown into the mix and I’ll never complain about one of those.
Far and away the biggest problem with The Basement is the subplot involving Craig’s wife, Kelly (Mischa Barton). Barton’s performance is terrible and I didn’t believe one line of her dialogue. Not only is her acting bad, but the writing for her scenes is abysmal. I honestly felt like a different person directed her scenes. It ripped me out of the film every time we cut back to her. I just wanted to stay in the basement and watch what was happening there, but we just had to go and see what this terrible character was up to. It predominantly felt like filler.
There is also one gore effect that doesn’t look very good. All I’ll say is that it involves a blowtorch, which is a shame. It’s hard to beat some good blowtorch gore, but this part simply didn’t match the quality of the effects in the rest of the film.
Finally, the ending twist is pretty lackluster. It doesn’t ruin the movie by any means, but it felt unnecessary. The story would have worked totally fine as a completely straightforward narrative. It didn’t need the twist.
Final Verdict for The Basement: 7/10: Good
I wasn’t expecting much from this film, but it caught me by surprise. The two lead actors do a great job, especially Jackson Davis. Again, the range in his performance is simply impressive. The gore is mostly believable and the story is very engaging. It has an unnecessary twist ending and a terrible subplot, but this film is still plenty entertaining and I can definitely recommend it despite its flaws.