The only reason I managed to survive the 2017 horror film ‘Eli’ was due to the earnest performances of the cast. When I mean survive, I don’t mean a heart-attack from being scared, but from falling asleep.
Directed by Ciaran Foy, this film is the story of Eli, played by Charlie Shotwell, who suffers from a rare health condition that makes him develop severe rashes if he is exposed to ‘unsanitised air’. Basically, he is allergic to the world at large.
Things start to get bizarre when his parents take him to a remote ancient Bungalow, where a certain Doctor Horn can cure him. Classic horror trope – old large mansion in the middle of nowhere, with creepy things moving around. The first half is slow and made worse by the fact that Foy uses a lot of predictable jump scares.
However, what really creeps and worries the viewer are the brutal medical procedures little Eli is subjected to. Each time Eli is in a medical bed, you are at the edge of your seat with anxiety. Points to the director for managing to make us care about the protagonist.
‘Eli’ does have a great plot twist, but it comes too damn late, and by that time you feel cheated. Because throughout the course of the film you are sighing about the mundane tropes that take place, wondering why certain idiotic things are happening and then boom – you have a twist that’s absolutely unpredictable, but too short & too late. Some viewers will probably not even understand what the F happens in the end.
The makers should have foreshadowed the twist a little earlier and built the suspense in a different manner. It’s like reading Cinderella – but after she marries the prince, you find out she is actually the evil-stepmother, who somehow managed to lock Cinderella up, take her form & is the new princess of the kingdom. The story-telling needed more work and the special effects could have been better.
It’s a 5/10 from me.