Catacombs

A film on which Lionsgate and Twisted pictures teamed up forming something to first be exclusively released on the horror website Fearnet.com, surely must be good and spooky, right? Well, just like the mazes within the film about to be discussed rights might be wrong or left, up, down, or diagonally circular.

Catacombs was directed by Tomm Coker and David Elliot and they both wrote on the screenplay as well. The film stars Shannyn Sossamon, mainly, and then also Alecia Moore; who is better known as the pop singer : Pink. The story revolves around a woman visiting her sister in Paris, a sister that takes her to a rave party in France’s underground catacombs. Unfortunately there seems to be a killer loose in the dark twisting mazes beneath the city.

The movie begins by stating it is based on a true story, which probably only means that there truly are catacombs beneath France, but as for the rest of it: nah. Apparently, the catacombs of France are considered the largest mass grave in the world with the movie stating the passage ways are lined with the bones of 7 Million corpses. Of course later in the film one of the characters is re-telling the facts and says 6 Million, but give or take a million sets of bones: the setting is indeed quite original and interesting. It is more often than not illegal to venture into most of the real life catacombs and it should also be noted that the movie was mainly filmed in Romania.

The problem with the interesting setting, the catacombs, is lighting. The catacombs are dark and that would only be scary if we were actually there. As it is we are a viewer, if we includes more than me actually watching the film, and watching a black screen with no picture gets tiresome. The filming of Catacombs goes from fast paced and shaky with strobe lights, to complete darkness, over and over again, with a long stretch of wondering around with a flashlight.

The lead actress, Shannyn Sossamon, does not have a future in being a “scream queen.” Her yelling at first was quite lame and her terror just seemed so forced and awkward a lot of the time. The fact that she is the center of the film and we spend most of the time wandering through the dark with her pretty much sucks. Pink was looking girlie pretty as opposed to her often times tom-boyish appearance, but much of her dialog was dull as well. Honestly, the characters are dull and the catacombs themselves are way more interesting.

The story starts out as a supposed killer stalking people through the catacombs sort of ordeal, and then mid-way just turns into a girl lost in the dark adventure and the killer aspect is totally forgotten. Predictably we think the killer has returned for the grand ending and I won’t ruin it for you specifically but the ending is basically the “screw you” type as in the filmmakers just said screw the audience let’s slap something totally stupid on here. Well, after the initial ending, which I guess they may try to play as a “twist”, one that has been lame all one thousand times it has been done in film, is the horrible thing. Then there is a bit of a quirky addition as a result of this ending to the story that is slightly fun.

Overall, the opening to Catacombs is really cool if you like loud music edited against a cool tunnel of skulls backdrop, but soon you can’t even see the backdrop anymore and just have the acting talents of Sossamon to entertain you as she fumbles through the dark. One intense moment of choice for her involving another character almost added some richness to things, but the ending kills that off and renders it pointless.

Scare factor: claustrophobic girls should steer clear of this film.

Catacombs, tunes the audience in to a creepy factoid about France, but fails to pull much entertainment from the darkness.

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