24 February 2015 | Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Well acted and occasionally scary horror flick.
A group of paranormal investigators need to deliver the goods to boost the ratings of their struggling TV show, so agree to film an episode in an old abandoned prison. Although long since abandoned, turns out the place might not be so empty as first thought of! 'Haunting of Cellblock 11' is a decent little low-budget horror/thriller with solid dialog and believable characters, and, despite a fairly slow start, a couple of effective scares pop up here and there. It's also a competently shot multi-camera affair, so despite the premise, there's very little in the way of single shaky camera 'found-footage' elements.
But one thing that instantly stands out are some better than average acting performances, and ultimate praise must go to the on screen husband and wife Jeffrey Johnson and Linara Washington. The pair share a convincing chemistry and very supportive, believable partnership throughout the film, and the few scenes where the sadly discuss their inability to have children is very touching, you literally want these two to make it through the ordeal. It's probably their relationship and the skill of the two actors that keeps you watching right through to the end.
Unfortunately some of the scares rely on pretty unconvincing CGI enhancements that are more ambitious than successful, and the film would have probably been more effective without them at all. Another problem is that something bad happens to one of the lead characters about half way through, and when he suddenly reappears later on, when asked what happened he essentially answers 'Oh man, I have no idea...', and it's never brought up again!
But 'Haunting of Cellblock 11' is still worth a watch. It tells a decent tale, has some reliable scares and all-around solid acting. I'm assuming there might also be a chance of some of the characters returning for another film?