Coming to DVD on March 17th, Walled In gathers a cast of people who you stare while wondering exactly what you remember them from. I’ll solve that riddle for you. Our lead character with the mannish voice, Sam, is played by Mischa Barton, who you remember from The O.C. The boy, Jimmy, is Cameron Bright from Running Scared, Thank You for Smoking, and X-Men III: The Franchise Killer. The mysterious mother is none other than Deborah Karl Unger from Silent Hill, Thirteen, and Payback. Mystery solved, you can now go about your movie going experience.
Walled In lazily follows Sam Walczak as she takes on her fist solo job as a demolitions engineer. She finds herself at a large, 160+ apartment complex made entirely of concrete in the middle of nowhere, designed by a mysterious architect who was murdered in the building some years earlier. Along with the designer, 15 others were killed by a construction worker who entombed the bodies within the walls of the building. Now, Sam must live in creepy, still furnished apartment while plotting the most efficient way of bringing the building down.
Either four or five people died in the film – truth be told that the movie was so painstakingly boring and meandering that I lost interest in keeping accurate tabs on what was happening.
A little girl is buried alive in cement while screaming for her daddy, there is a stabbing, some blood, a dead dog, and someone is shot by some sort of bolt weapon.
There is a weak sex scene and Sam’s character is naked at several points, though you never see anything. It seemed as though the script (which is based on a French book) featured nudity prominently as a story point, in the bath and sex scenes, and latter when she is danger. However, the film decided to lessen the impact by never showing anything and always giving Barton something to cover herself with. I understand that nudity is not always necessary in a film, but in this story it seems as though nudity was supposed to have a purpose and they fumbled it. You wonder “why is she naked” if you’re not seeing it. Clearly all the emotional impact of her forcibly being stripped is null at that point.
If you go to a creepy place with creepy people and they try to warn you off certain areas, just believe them.
Walled In is initially predictable and remains that way for most of the film – you’re reasonably certain about who is doing what, though once the film tries to come up with some grand explanation as to why, it falls flat on its face, rolls around in the mud and vomits into the area a babel of nonsense. Three Rhodes Scholars couldn’t figure out what the message was at the climax, though all were in agreement that the film failed in transmitting anything meaningful or even coherent to the audience. There are some allusions to Egyptian history and the pyramids, though the building is definitely not Egyptian or a pyramid, as well as some “deep” thoughts on love probably inspired by a 15 year old girls diary. The film also decides to have characters lay down rules and expose their plans only to be satisfied and feel victorious when the exact opposite of what they wanted to happen takes place. It’s as if they’re taking joy in losing or someone did Word Replace and changed every instance of “doesn’t” to “does” and vice versa.
Acting wise, the film is a cold plate of high school drama- cancel that. High Schoolers overact so at least show emotion. They also rehearse. Walled In felt like a cold reading with little movement, awkward dialog pacing, and absolutely no chemistry between actors. At one point, I wondered why Mischa Barton could talk without moving her lips, but then realized I had been staring at a blank area of concrete. I think the wall actually managed to outshine her in several scenes. Her voice delivery is monotonous and lifeless, as if the entire thing was read off the page from during an ADR session. The normally talented child actor Cameron Bright is now 16 in the real world and understandably in somewhat of an awkward spot in the life of a boy. He mimics Barton’s reluctance to infuse any emotion into his lines as they awkwardly trade lines back and forth, reading rather than interacting.
When the ending turns nonsenical, characters also have immediate and abrupt turn arounds, adopting new personality traits in an attempt to make things have some semblance of conclusion, which doesn’t happen. At the end of the day, this movie is boring, lacks any semblance of good, or even fair, acting from it’s main cast and attempts to spout meaningful tropes but just ends up spewing. Skip it. Slay it. Bury it.