Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mischa Barton, Cameron Bright, Deborah Kara Unger, Noam Jenkins
Written by: Gilles Paquet-Brenner, Rodolphe Tissot, Olivier Volpi, Sylvain White, based on a novel by Serge Brussolo
Directed by: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
MPAA Rating: R for some violence
Running Time: 91
Date: 02/20/2009

Walled In (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Fallen Structure

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Mischa Barton stars as Sam Walczak, who is under pressure to pull off her first job assignment for her father's family business: demolishing an old building. She arrives to check the place out, looking for pressure points, etc. But she finds some strange people still living in the even stranger structure. The creepy Jimmy (Cameron Bright) immediately turns stalker on her. Jimmy's mother Mary (Deborah Kara Unger) seems to be issuing threats with her icy dialogue readings. One tenant charges at her from the shadows, swinging an axe, and a doddering old woman keeps a library of odd books, all owned by the crazy architect who built the place. (Jimmy talks about him like he's still alive.) And weirder, nothing Sam measures matches up to the blueprints, leading her to believe that there are crypt-like passages inside. Years earlier, several dead bodies were found sealed up in the walls. Are there more? That's about as clear as I can make the plot sound; it throws in nightmares, hallucinations, red herrings and other sinister developments that seem to leapfrog one another more than they actually add up to something. Barton seems lost in her role, perhaps just as confused as we are. Walled In is very nicely filmed with some terrific bits of lighting and use of space, but because of the narrative lethargy, the emotional drive fades away as well. Anchor Bay released the new DVD, with a pretty typical "making of" featurette.

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