The Asylum Riffs On The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby All In One Movie
Main Cast: Jon Briddell and Erin Cocker
Director: Keith Allan
Jack (Jon Briddell, “Revolution”) and Melissa Vales (Erin Coker, Shark Week) and their 10-year-old son Nat (Hayden Byerly, “The Fosters”) have moved into a new home in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Things don’t go well in their first week in the new house.
A worker who shows up to repair a crack in the wall is frightened and backs out into the street where he’s run down by a speeding car. A neighbor across the street falls off a ladder and is impaled on his own fence. The nanny the Vales try to hire is beaten to death and replaced by their second choice, who teaches you Nat how to burn butterflies with a broken piece of glass and direct sunlight. And the old woman next door keeps trying to lure the young boy into her yard. Melissa discovers she’s pregnant and must go on immediate bed rest where her at home nurse keeps her doped up on sedatives.
And all of these happenings center around Nat’s upcoming 11th birthday, which takes place this Friday, November 11, 2011.
11/11/11 (not to be confused with the Darren Lynn Bousman movie 11-11-11) is a riff on the classic The Omen with some Rosemary’s Baby thrown into the mix. Nat may be the devil incarnate with that upcoming date as the day his powers come to fruition. What he is meant to do with that power once he “comes of age”, the “cult” guiding him never makes clear, but I think in a situation like this, it doesn’t really matter what he’s meant to do. It’s enough to know he’s the devil.
And this is where the heart of the story comes in. Imagine for a moment you’re Jack Vales, college professor, and you’re told that your son, the person you love most in the world, is the devil, but if you kill him before his birthday, you can save the world.
I may not love the world, but I wouldn’t want to see it destroyed, either. On the other hand, I really love my kids and would obliterate anyone who tried to hurt them. What would you do?
Kiff Scholl (Scream of the Bikini) and Keith Allan (Rise of the Zombies) wrote the screenplay with Allan directing for The Asylum. 11/11/11 isn’t a great movie, has a lot of predictable moments and some terribly cheap effects. The actors aren’t terrible, but they weren’t given a lot to work with here. The whole movie is just plain cheesy and the ONLY moment of tension comes toward the end when Jack realizes the crossroad he has come to. And it really is a terrible choice to have to make, and even now I still can’t say for sure what I’d do.
11/11/11 is well-paced, with a lot taking place in a small amount of time, but it never feels bloated or rushed. We get a lot of information without a word needing to be spoken and Allan guides us along very well, planting the signposts where needed without drawing too much attention to them. The feeling of paranoia is thick, even the viewer isn’t sure who’s in on the plot and who’s merely a pawn.
I liked Erin Coker as Melissa, but a lot of her reaction shots felt clumsy and out of place. Briddell’s Jack spends a lot of time being oblivious and/or confused. But at least he tried. On the other hand, Byerly as Nat could have been replaced by a cardboard cut-out with little to no effect on 90% of the scenes he was in. I know Nat was supposed to be a quiet, emotionless void, but there’s a line between quiet, emotionless void and lump of clay being addressed by other actors. Surely someone could have been found among that age range who was able to do a little more with the material.
In the end, 11/11/11 was an okay movie with a story you’ve seen before, but not done as well as those other movies. I could take it or leave it. It’s not something I’d say you HAVE to see, but if you’re interested, I also wouldn’t try to dissuade you. It’s okay.