Sunday, December 4, 2011

Movie Review: 100 Feet (2008)

I first saw 100 Feet quite a while ago and never got around to reviewing it here, even though I liked it very much. And maybe I shouldn't like it as much as I do, with all the numerous nitpicky problems that other reviewers have with it, but fuck it. Sometimes certain elements of a movie are good enough to let you overlook obvious flaws, and the performances and specific scenes are enough to make me totally love 100 Feet.

Marnie Watson has just been released from jail after murdering her abusive cop husband in self defense. Now under house arrest for the rest of her sentence, Marnie is forced to live in the same home where the murder took place - and where her dead husband has now become a violent and malevolent ghost, hell-bent on revenge.

This movie was not only written by the incredible Eric Red, but also directed by him as well. The guy behind such amazing films as The Hitcher and Near Dark can't possibly give us a miss with this movie, can he? I don't think he does. Maybe there are a few plot holes and maybe the special effects can be seen as extremely hokey and/or lame but let's forget about that for a minute and focus on what the movie gets right.

For me, Famke Janssen's performance as Marnie makes up for a good deal of the movie's faults. She is a fantastic and beautiful actress whom I have always loved, and she can easily hold her own against anything crazy that happens here and gives the movie believability and class. She's frightened, she's angry, and she's even slightly comedic at times - easily going along with the shift in tones that occurs. This role also calls for quite a bit of physicality with things that aren't there and it all looks pretty seamless to me, even if the ghost effects don't look as well done.

As it turns out, Michael (Marnie's husband) is not your typical movie ghost. A few creepy ghost-like things happen at first - candles re-lighting by themselves, footsteps and shadows - but the big reveal of the Michael ghost is fairly early on and what he looks like might not be to everyone's liking. After he's thrown Marnie down the stairs, he appears before her, fully formed, with a shaky, smoky, gray digital effect that seems ridiculous even to me at times. The effects during the climax when Michael is finally eradicated are also, admittedly, pretty freaking bad.

This ghost is also different in how completely cruel and violent he is towards Marnie. Sure, she killed him, but he beat the shit out of her for a long time and got away with it because he was a cop. As a ghost, Michael is perhaps more violent than he was in real life - throwing Marnie across the room several times and actually punching her in the face, something I don't usually think ghosts should be allowed to do. Down in the cellar, Marnie is even able to kick him in the face as well. She also gets dragged down the hallway by her hair, has plates and knickknacks and furniture thrown at her, and has Michael's ghostly arm pull her hand into a running garbage disposal.

There are several parts in 100 Feet where the special effects are freaking awesome. You can't watch this movie and not be completely shocked at the poor little grocery boy's demise. Young Joey has befriended Marnie, which pisses off her ghost husband. But he doesn't really lose it until the morning after Marnie and Joey have sex and he kills Joey in the most gruesome way. He punches him a dozen times, breaking his teeth and dislocating his jaw until the bones protrude from his cheek. Then he twists his wrist around, then both arms at the shoulders, then slams his head at the ceiling, breaking his neck. DUDE. Brutal. Completely and utterly brutal, and I loved it. The scene right after this when Joey's body falls through the floor is also unexpectedly hilarious.

Bobby Cannavale as Michael's old partner Shanks plays his role way too cliched as the cop with a bad attitude and his entire character almost brings the movie down. First he's openly angry at and hates Marnie for killing his partner, then in the next scene he's offering to protect her. This actor needs to get his shit together because there is not one thing I've seen him in where I believed even an ounce of his performance.

So putting aside the cheap effects and the plot holes (the biggest one being that the distance from the box to the front door is most definitely NOT 100 feet long), I can't help but have a strange attraction to this movie. The ghostly action is more intense than other haunting films and having Famke as the star gives it a big boost. I say give it a chance if you haven't and at least be prepared for something different and exciting, with a little bit of a comedic edge. But don't be expecting something scary or with the greatest effects.


  1. And I didn't like it at all. The ghost husband looked ridiculous and the holy story was meh.

  2. saw this a few years ago and enjoyed it about as much as you. The jaw scene was insane but mindblowingly awesome!

  3. Been curious about this one for awhile now. May just have to check it out.

  4. The ghost husband did look ridiculous but I did love this movie too! Especially loved how gruesome it was--poor Chuck Bass! (Sorry, I don't remember his real name!)

  5. I need to give this one a chance, like you've said, Eric Red has yet to dissapoint with one of his films.

  6. @Nebs: :(

    @Maynard: That scene made me want to walk around holding my jaw in place all day. Can you imagine how weird that would feel???

    @Joel: Even I admit that it's not super-great but it's worth a look to see if it floats your boat.

    @Real Queen: It was so much gruesome than I thought it was going to be which is one of the things I loved about it.

    @Film Connoisseur: Red could definitely be a good director as well as an awesome writer, I'd love to see what else he could come up with. This film is much more contained than Near Dark or The Hitcher but I think he pulls it off well.

  7. I haven't seen this one yet. But after reading the beginning of your review (I stopped to avoid possible spoilers) I decided to give it a watch & review for my horror blog. Thankfully Netflix has it to stream! Thanks! ;)