When Ella discovers her Wall Street banker boyfriend is renting a secret storage unit, she suspects he's using it to hide an affair. Enlisting the help of her best friend Molly she breaks into the facility only to discover something more terrifying instead. Now trapped in a darkened building with a group of neurotic strangers who start disappearing one by one, Ella soon uncovers even worse horror in the dank depths. Her life or death battle to escape eternal enslavement is about to begin....
April 5, 2016
Matt Winn, James Handel, Chris Denne
Mischa Barton as Ella
Robert Knepper as Vince
There’s something special about gems that surface suddenly and unexpectedly and reverberate in the psyche after a watch. Who doesn’t want to unearth a diamond in the rough? Sure, finding such films can prove difficult, but every now and then we get a big surprise in an unassuming package. Matt Winn’s first feature length genre film, The Hoarder is that new surprise. It’s a must-see with an assortment of jarring images and a few unexpected twists. Anyone who can get behind the idea of a little mystery in their terror should be able to get behind The Hoarder.
The film opens up with a look at Ella (Mischa Barton) and Molly (Emely Atack) discussing Ella’s mysterious boyfriend. Apparently he’s super hot, and super cool, and spends too much time away from home. Naturally, Ella believes the man to be having an affair (probably a fair thought, whether or true or not). She’s compelled to pay a visit to the couples’ subterranean storage unit to look through the man’s journal and poke around for anything suspicious. It seems like a solid enough plan, until both women find themselves in a world of danger. There’s something strange happening in this storage facility. What’s worse is the fact that this strange thing has managed to break free from its confines, and it doesn’t seem too pleasant. Who is responsible for the terror in the storage unit?
Despite a few plot holes (I actually don’t want to delve too deep into these issues, as one plot hole in particular leads directly into content that would no doubt qualify as spoiler material) I enjoyed the hell out of The Hoarder. It’s effectively creepy in more than one sequence, it looks clean and it’s got a couple solid performances. I wish a few things had been tightened up in the script, but the issues that loom there do not threaten to dampen the picture’s general effectiveness. There’s a fine finale for those who crave an appropriately menacing climax, and to be honest, there are enough potential avenues with the film to warrant a sequel. It’s that entertaining, and it’s left that wide open. And I want to see a lot more!
Having never been a huge Mischa Barton fan I don’t necessarily look forward to her films, or praise them all that much after screening. She’s always been a fair performer who tapped into every ounce of her capabilities, but ultimately, she’s always come across as a somewhat limited performer. She disrupts a few of those personal beliefs here and that’s a direct reflection of her willingness to let it all hang out in this role. She doesn’t pull any punches, and she does apply pressure to the aspects of her skillset that have always struck me as minimal. That’s commendable. Robert Knepper also turns in strong work, not that that is a huge surprise. This guy is a true veteran of the small and big screen alike, and his work as a “troubled” (he looks like he’s been sucking coke up his nose for three days straight) cop is impressive. No joke, I did some google work to see if the man’s been having drug and or alcohol problems in his personal life. For the record, I didn’t find much “dirt” on the man. Barton and Knepper get some fine support from a few less-than-familiar performers such as Andrew Buckley, Richard Sumitro and Valene Kane. All three are featured in considerably smaller roles, but all three do an excellent job of convincing us they’re… well, some “different” individuals. All in all, no complaints in regards to the cast.
Heading into the first viewing of the film there was – admittedly – a little concern that this one could turn into a hokey CGI-fest as the conflict came to light. It turns out there was absolutely no concern on that front, whatsoever. There are just a few short scenes that require any serious special effects, and most of what we get is practical. The creature you see on the promotional poster and cover is handled with perfection. As far as I can tell he’s uncredited, as I don’t recall him having a name in the film, and there are no “monster” credits on imdb or at after the film’s wrap. I’m not absolutely sure about that, but whoever that fellow is, he nailed the physicality that the character demanded with absolute perfection. The guy is creepy as hell!
The editing is sharp, giving us smooth transitions and consistently eerie atmosphere. The makeup department absolutely kills, with some subtle yet astoundingly evident and convincing work. The direction is smooth, allowing the story to unravel without hiccup. The Hoarder, to summarize, really gets a lot of things right that could have easily gone wrong. It’s one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in 2016, and it will no doubt find a home in my personal collection, now that the disc has been released for personal collectors. The Hoarder gets high praise and equally impressive numbers from us. Watch the movie, ASAP!