Director: Ciarán Foy
Starring: Charlie Shotwell, Kelly Reilly, Max Martini, Lili Taylor, Sadie Sink, Deneen Tyler, Katia Gomez
Runtime: 98 minutes
As usual, October is here, and Netflix is flooding its service with horror goodness, and naturally, I am here to inform you of how they are doing. In my opinion, if you take all of the horror movies with the Netflix name on them, the bad still outweigh the good, but that is how it goes with this genre of film. There are a lot of at-bats and a lot of swings before you get a hit. Netflix has put their foot forward once again, and I have to say, it was a good foot forward with this cast. They are cashing in on Lili Taylor from The Conjuring and Sadie Sink from Stranger Things. Can this cast pull off a good horror film? Let’s Dive!
Eli at least starts out with an original idea of a boy (Eli) being allergic to everything the world has to offer. He is kept in a bubble and never able to go into the outside world. This idea quickly because unoriginal when Eli’s parents find a doctor who says she has a cure. The doctor has bought a very old mansion and turned it into a “clean house,” meaning any harmful outside allergens are filtered out by the loud filtration system that kicks on at various times. All water used in the building is extremely purified, which means Eli can shed his bubble and live like a semi-normal child with freedom and showers. Next comes all the usual haunted house fare with nothing we haven’t seen before. The movie never really comes to a halt, but the redeeming factor here is that through it all, there is something else happening, and that glimpse of the unknown layer is like the wallpaper you just want to pull more and more. Luckily, the reveal and the third act of Eli makes the whole watch worth it.
None of the actors here will blow you away and you have seen them all better somewhere else, but Eli doesn’t rely on them to get by. None of the dialogue is well-written or well-delivered, but it doesn’t have to be; it is just a way to get us from A to B. Most of the effects used here are well done. It is apparent that they are CGI-heavy, with no practical effects seen, which is sadly how this genre has been for some time.
Without the final layer, Eli is a very forgettable movie. However, with the added twist, it rises above a lot of the other haunted house movies — bonus points awarded to this being distributed by Netflix and, therefore, available to us subscribers. There are far worst horror movies that have been released in theaters, so it is good to see that Netflix is giving us options to stay home and still see a good film this October.
Eli is only recommended based on the twist and the unconventional ending of a haunted house movie.