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23.6.10

100 Feet (2008)


Director: Eric Red
Starring: Famke Janssen, Bobby Cannavale, Ed Westwick, Michael Pare
Rated R  Running time:  101 minutes
Released by The Asylum

After a twelve year absence from the movie biz, writer/director Eric Red (Near Dark, The Hitcher) returns with this haunted house thriller starring Famke Janssen. Janssen plays Marnie Watson, a woman just released from prison for killing her abusive cop husband. Marnie says it was self-defense; Shanks, (Bobby Cannavale) her dead husband's partner, doesn't believe her.  As a condition of her release, Marnie is placed under house arrest -  the same house where she offed her hubby. If she moves more then 100 feet out of range of the monitoring system, Marnie goes back to the slammer. In the meantime, Shanks vows to make Marnie as miserable as possible for killing his partner.

It turns out that Shanks doesn't have to do a thing, since the husband's ghost (Michael Pare in a wordless role) has decided to not go towards the light. At first he seems content to frighten and annoy Marnie. But when she becomes romantically involved with a much younger (and still living) delivery guy, he gets much, much nastier.

Right off the bat, Red earns points for two things: not indulging in the usual J-horror inspired ghost antics, and for keeping  100 Feet from turning into an R-rated domestic violence PSA. Most of the action takes place in the haunted townhouse, with Janssen being the focal point of nearly every scene. She's very good in this; tough, battle-scarred, and resourceful. I can forgive her for sticking her hand down the garbage disposal late in the second act.

The ghost effects are exceptional. Pare hovers around the apartment, his face bone white and out of focus. It's the kind of thing you'd see in a nightmare. It's also worth mentioning that the film features one of the nastiest death-by-poltergeist scenes I've ever witnessed.

My only real quibble is with the film's grand finale. Janssen's character does something (or maybe doesn't do something) that is completely inconsistent with every thing else we've learned about her. It bothered me, but not enough to ruin 100 Feet. It's one of the better recent horror films, and certainly the best thing The Asylum has ever released.

3 out of 5. 

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