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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.43%
Worth A Look: 9.43%
Average: 9.43%
Pretty Bad: 22.64%
Total Crap49.06%

1 review, 47 user ratings

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Locked In
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by Jay Seaver

"For true horror, imagine being in a locked-in state and this playing on TV."
1 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2010 BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL: "Locked In" is a pretty terrible movie, although one where the audience might be willing to make allowances for budget, or at least give some of its off-seeming moments a conditional pass, just in case the all-but-inevitable twist ending explains them. It defaults on that loaned good will, of course, but by then it already has your money and your time, and what can you do about it besides give it a one-star review wherever people might read it?

To put it mildly, Josh (Ben Barnes) has an uncanny ability to destroy holidays. The film opens with him driving his family home, Christmas tree tied to the top of the car, and having a bizarre, apparently self-inflicted accident that somehow leaves him and wife Emma (Sarah Roemer) more or less unharmed but four-year-old daughter Brooke (Abby & Helen Steinman) in a "locked in" state - technically conscious and aware of her surroundings but unable to more or acknowledge them. To twist the knife a little more, this was an attempt at a reconciliation for Josh and Emma - on Halloween, Josh turned stepping out to pick up more candy into going into a bar, having a few drinks, and hooking up with old flame Renee (Eliza Dushku). Now, Ben's receiving mysterious phone calls that sound like Brooke and seeing other clues that lead him to believe that Renee ran them off the road. He also gets into contact with Frank (Clarke Peters), a guru who apparently can help them reach Brooke and bring her out of her unresponsive state.

The movie starts off with an absolutely bizarre car crash, a scene that feels as though director Suri Krishnamma knew the story needed a car crash but had no actual money for a stunt driver, so it's cobbled together with distorted shots of one of Boston's tunnels and sped-up footage. It's odd-looking enough that it may temporarily either blind the audience to how the scene makes no sense, or give them the mistaken impression that it's just a flawed bit of execution, rather than a character just doing something for no reason other than the plot outline demanding it - with neither Josh nor Emma remembering any particulars because the movie would fall apart if they did.

Now, not everything that happens over the course of the movie is completely arbitrary and illogical; indeed, you can probably invent backstory for each of these characters that describes just why they behave in a given way. Lord knows that writer Ronnie Christensen doesn't seem to have bothered: Josh is a generic young director of commercials not fully committed to domesticity; Emma is a nice enough young mother; her mother Joan (Brenda Fricker) doesn't much like her son-in-law; Renee is a sexy maneater used to getting what she goes after; Frank is... well, Frank's pretty much the dictionary definition of Magic Negro, except that he doesn't even offer wisdom but touchy-feely platitudes. There are circumstances in which they all could do what the script asks of them, but we know nothing about them in particular that suggests anything specific.

The cast doesn't do much to elevate these characters, either. Sarah Roemer is okay, in that she at least remembers to look sad even when her crying isn't the point of the scene, but Ben Barnes is a black hole. There's really no telling what's going on in Josh's head at any time, and he just walks around the movie in a confused daze, unable to sell anything the script asks for. Clarke Peters goes through his motions as well, although "blandly reassuring" isn't that tough a nut to crack. Eliza Dushku isn't bad for the eight or nine minutes she's in the movie, although anyone seeing it for her will likely be disappointed.

Granted, there's not much they can do - even if they invested their characters with personalities and palpable histories and desires, they'd still be doing it in service of an awful script. Aside from seeming to misinterpret the title syndrome, it structures itself as a mystery, although both the conventional and paranormal aspects are just as obvious as they look. They lead to opposite conclusions, but not in terms of the first solution being a misinterpretation of the facts, but instead simply being discarded as unimportant. Of course, that twist will be discarded as well, in an astonishingly lazy and audience-disrespecting manner.

It couldn't be more obvious what Josh is supposed to get out of the situation, but the audience isn't going to get anything close to that sort of benefit. Direct-to-video-quality thrillers like this are a dime a dozen, and this one doesn't have anything that makes for a new and surprising experience.

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originally posted: 09/21/10 23:33:23
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Boston Film Festival For more in the 2010 Boston Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/30/17 MARIO ORTEGA Nobody died. He was just "inventing" the whole story in his mind. 3 stars
9/02/17 Stacey I loved his acting... very confusing....I think his family died and he died and joined them 3 stars
8/13/17 Lauren This movie was GOD AWFUL! What a piece of shit and a waste of time. TERRIBLE 1 stars
7/31/17 Susanne He was told there was little time left,holding too tight and forgive himself.Died . 3 stars
2/26/17 Mischa I love this film. Although it confuses me at points, and I need the ending explained.... 4 stars
10/26/16 Namra I loved the movie 5 stars
9/03/16 Ro seen the film x me Ben has acted very well I think to have understood that follow 4 stars
6/29/16 Mace The ending, didn't see it coming. 4 stars
3/12/16 Phil Just didn't understand it. :( 1 stars
3/02/16 Vero I know the ending is confused but I think who watches the film can imagine 2 choices in lif 5 stars
7/25/15 Katie I liked it, it made me think about my choices in life: 2 chances don't come easy. 5 stars
5/05/15 Elena I didn't really understand the ending but I loved this movie anyway... 5 stars
3/13/15 Annie Brown it was a ok movie but it was very very confusing 2 stars
3/11/15 Cathy I liked it ! The ending left for discussion. 4 stars
2/28/15 chrris this movie sucked.....director and producer should find new careers. 1 stars
2/24/15 Elizabeth mom & daughter died. Dad was in coma until making peace w/ himself for bad decisions made 2 stars
2/03/15 anna I didnt understand the ending did his family lie or die in the car crash 3 stars
8/25/14 Dave Unsatisfactory and frustrating, I too am on this site to try to understand the ending.... 2 stars
8/24/14 rob awful and bewildering an opportunity missed to leverage a very challenging condition 1 stars
4/29/14 tina awful 2 stars
2/05/14 Tanya You can all hate me but I loved it 5 stars
2/02/14 sue What happened? Total confusion!! Help somebody! 2 stars
1/11/14 mary keane did not get it 2 stars
11/20/13 Charlotte no idea what happened complete confusion 1 stars
10/06/13 Jayde What the hell! 1 stars
10/03/13 Kaki WTF absolute crap looked up the movie to find out what actually bloody happened?!?!?!?! 1 stars
10/02/13 Andrea Left totally confused. Wish I hadn't watched it. 1 stars
9/27/13 Emma im so dissapointed ! the movie made no sence at all 1 stars
9/26/13 Ray So did mum and dad die in the accident and the kid survived? 2 stars
9/25/13 Mots Absolute tosh. Can anyone explain it? 1 stars
9/25/13 Max White A poor script riddled with holes and a bizarre story making only limited sense is not good! 2 stars
9/24/13 Jay c what the hell happened!!!! 1 stars
9/24/13 Monique Thompson Totally confused. They could have explained what happened. Waste of time :( 1 stars
9/23/13 adam Um.. ultra confused.. i got the story early on but this is cliffhanger overused rubbish 1 stars
9/23/13 J walker 2 stars
9/23/13 Horrace My oh my !!! i have to become an actor if its that easy !! 1 stars
9/23/13 Isolde Rurocks I thought that mom and daughter died and that Josh was in psychotherapy with Frank... 4 stars
9/22/13 Sophie Glad I skipped to the last 8 minutes after the first 5, low budget can work, this does NOT. 1 stars
9/22/13 cope was the director and writer on drugs what a load of unintelligable trash 1 stars
9/22/13 April i thought it was sad at the end, josh had clearly died and then met up with his family x 3 stars
9/22/13 Rachel I had no idea what was going on from start to finish ... Jumping all over the place 2 stars
9/22/13 Tina Totally confused in the end 2 stars
9/22/13 Lee Just wasted watchin this slow moving load of rubbish. I will never get that time back again 1 stars
9/21/13 Mickey Mouse This film claims to be a mystery thriller but it is NOT it is a load of rubbish 1 stars
9/20/13 Essex Sooooooo disappointed! Could have been a pretty good little indie film but barely made sens 2 stars
9/20/13 Traceylou Well I was left as confused at the end of the film as I was in the beginning! I awful film 1 stars
9/22/10 Ronald Holst There Is no excess for putting this out as an actual Movie 1 stars
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