Oh, the beauty of movies on the internet. While I’m definitely a film geek, I’d like to think that I’m an informed one—with a bounty of knowledge of many different movies and random trivia about them. However, with all the new technology and ways to watch movies, I realize that I don’t know as much as I thought I did about my favorite genre (horror). I also learned that there are a ton of great movies out there that I’ve not only never seen, but never even heard of.
My younger brother, who I’m very close to, got Netflix a few years before I did, and over the past couple of years there’s been many a night where we get together to watch a random horror flick he’s found on Netflix, or Redbox, or some similar option. Through him, I’ve discovered some pretty great movies that are relatively unknown, or that I never would have heard of any other way. Thank goodness he has a spirit that is much more open to trying new things than mine is.
Before we began having our movie bonding nights, I never liked to go into a movie without knowing what I was getting into. I normally have to have seen at least two trailers for it, have read a plot synopsis on imdb and a few other sites, and so on and so forth. What can I say—I love movies, but since I watch so many of them already, I don’t like to have my time wasted with two hours of something I should have been able to guess was going to be a dud.
I like to think of these “finds” of his as Hidden Gems.
One of these recent Hidden Gems is the movie Nine Dead. As usual, I was skeptical about this movie at first. My brother refused to give me so much as a plot summary before we watched it; his only selling point was that it sort of reminded him of something out of a Saw movie, and of course that was more than enough for me.
While quite a few moments of the acting in this film were atrocious, it wasn’t so bad that it took me out of the movie or made it unenjoyable. And as someone who enjoys a good mystery, I found the plot of the film very intriguing. By the fifteen minute mark I was so captivated by the story that I forgot how reluctant I’d been to watch it in the first place.
So what is Nine Dead really about? Simply put, a group of people find themselves trapped, chained in a room together by a man who tells them that their task is to figure out the reason they’re all there. Until they do, their captor will return every ten minutes and kill one of them until they’re either all dead or they figure out why all of them are there. Not a very easy task.
Granted, the movie starts out quite slow. Right off the bat, the opening segment is poorly done, showing how each of them were kidnapped. Waste of screen time. We get it; they were taken out of the blue. Showing maybe one or two would have been okay, but it became monotonous. And then there was the dialogue. Awful. I don’t normally say this, but I could have done better. Some of the things the characters said, like Coogan’s convenient last words to the killer, most of the dialogue of the rebellious Leon character, and the things the characters yell at their captor when they realize where they are, and after he shoots a victim; it practically made me cringe, to say the least.
The other major problem with the film was how convenient it was that they each live long enough to give out their individual significant piece of information that solves the mystery in the end. I understand that it was necessary to make the film work, but it was just a little too sloppy. Each person’s information came out in a way that was clearly a plot contrivance and not at all natural and realistic.
So there’s all that. But the thing is that Nine Dead did what is was supposed to do as a film: it entertained me and thrilled me. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie for what it was, and found myself just as invested in what was at stake, as the characters. The movie had its intense moments. It’s a good watch because it has horror elements, thriller elements, and has enough suspense and mystery to keep you watching until the end. You’ll hate some characters with a passion, and care enough to feel that some of the characters are treated unfairly in being trapped in that room.
So, I’d recommend this one—as long as you go into it expecting nothing more than a fun, distracting, enjoyable film.