Movie review: It's not worth going down to 'The Basement'

 
 
Updated 9/14/2018 11:46 AM
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  • A wacko serial killer (Jackson Davis) tortures a pop musician (Cayleb Long) in the mostly one-set horror tale "The Basement."

    A wacko serial killer (Jackson Davis) tortures a pop musician (Cayleb Long) in the mostly one-set horror tale "The Basement." Courtesy of Uncork'd

"The Basement" - ★

"The Basement" sounds an awful lot like "debasement," and after a blow-torch-wielding maniac approaches a screaming woman wearing a flimsy bra, looks like it as well.

This wince-inducing endurance test makes the "Saw" movies appear downright moralistic.

As the news media reports on the latest victims of the so-called Gemini Killer, Craig (Cayleb Long), a wealthy, famous musician, goes out one night to a convenience store to buy something for his wife Kelly (Mischa Barton).

Someone violently pulls him inside a van. On the door, you see the words "Baylee the Clown."

This can't be good.

Craig wakes up tied to a desk in a basement. He rails against his clown captor, demanding to be freed.

He stops once the torture begins. Fingers snipped off. (Eek!) Teeth knocked out. (Yech!) Knife carvings on the forehead. (Owww!)

Then comes the ultimate torment: Craig must witness some of the worst acting to hit movies since Chuck Norris starred in "Top Dog."

Baylee turns out to be one of many characters created by his deranged captor (Jackson Davis). He dresses up as a cop, an old physician, a pious priest, a prison guard, a prison inmate, even Craig's "mom" to mete out punishments.

"Why are you doing this?" shouts Craig, an obvious fan of verbal cliches.

Craig comes off as such an obnoxious, entitled jerk that his suffering barely generates empathy.

Meanwhile, Kelly becomes concerned about her missing hubby, even as she confides to her best bud (Bailey Anne Borders) she suspects Craig could be cheating on her.

Davis underplays the "talent" of his killer for limited comic effect. Still, one wonders how a young Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger might have infused the tormentor with gleeful obsession.

"The Basement" should not be confused with "Don't Go Into the Basement," a low-budget, 1976 exploitation horror title that's also a good piece of advice here.

• • •

Starring: Cayleb Long, Jackson Davis, Mischa Barton, Tracie Thoms, Bailey Anne Borders

Directed by: Nathan Ives, Brian M. Conley

Other: An Uncork'd release. At the South Barrington 24 Theaters. Not rated; contains graphic violence, adult language, nudity. 89 minutes

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