Condemned (2015) **
D: Eli Morgan Gesner
C: Genevieve Hudson-Price, Lydia Hearst, Ronen Rubinstein, Jon Abrahams, Michel Gill, Johnny Messner, Dylan Penn, Michael Drayer, Perry Yung, Jordan Gelber, Michael DeMello, Anthony Chisholm, Tuffy Questell, Kea Ho
Plot Synopsis: A condemned building is transformed into a savage slaughterhouse when a group of squatters are infected with a virus that turns them into bloodthirsty killers.
Review: In Condemned, we watch as various squatters become infected with a virus that turns them into homicidal maniacs. One thing that immediately stands out is how the film plays with the idea of perception. The main characters are a group of friends who look like they should be in an ad for Gap, not as homeless squatters. Some of the other inhabitants include a coked out former model & her boyfriend who would be at home in a Bret Easton Ellis novel. There's a drug dealer, a sadomasochistic gay couple, etc. My point is, that these aren't exactly the types of people that you would associate with homelessness. One of the ideas that comes across is that homelessness can affect anyone, not just one set of people.
One of the other ideas that takes prominence is that we're poisoning our own environment and, in affect, each other. In one scene, we see the drug dealer character dump toxic chemicals down a water drain. This is attributed as to why the characters are becoming infected with a virus that turns them into killers. Condemned actually has substance, a train of thought and some interesting notions, yet in doesn't quite work.
On the surface, it seems like it should, but the problem is that there isn't one single character to get behind amidst all the horror & chaos. There isn't anyone that's terribly compelling or interesting to watch. There's no one to root for. Most of the characters are off putting. After awhile, it all becomes rather numbing. When we see characters meet horrible deaths, it becomes more of a so what? type moment instead of one of terror, panic or confusion. That's all the more surprising considering the claustrophobic nature of the setting.
Two things that we learn early on is that anyone that has come into contact with the water is going to eventually turn into one of these killers. It's not a matter of if, but when. Two, the condemned building that the characters live in has been completely locked down. There's not a glimmer of hope for anyone involved in the proceedings. We all know they're doomed. Viewers are locked in, waiting for the characters to pick off one another. Maybe that was the point? We're locked into life on Earth. We're poisoning one another with chemicals and that there isn't a glimmer of hope for any of us. That still doesn't make any less off putting even if it's an interesting idea.
That's the tricky thing on taking on harrowing material. Even if it's an ordeal to sit through, it has to reward the audience in some way. Condemned is terminally depressing, but not in a way that I felt enriched by what I saw. [Not Rated] 83 minutes.
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