Every now and then a movie comes along with a premise that makes you intrigued to see it, not just because of the concept but you wonder how that could possibly work.
The Basement was one of those movies for me. Here is the summery listed on IMDB: “a seemingly innocent man is abducted by a notorious L.A. serial killer who forces his victims to switch roles with him so he can enact his own capture, torture and murder”.
Immediately, those words sent questions bouncing around in my head. Such as, how does a killer force a victim to “switch roles” with him? I pictured the wrong way it could go down, “here buddy, take this knife and tie me up real good…. make it real convincing. Here’s your motivation.”
Thankfully The Basement was not like that at all. Perhaps the tag line they gave the movie is a better representation, “Two men. Twelve Personalities. One living hell.”
The majority of this story is watching Cayleb Long (“Happy Baby”, “The App”) as Craig, the man who was taken and tied up in The Basement by Bill, a serial killer making headlines for decapitating his victims with a blow torch. That is an original way to commit murder, I’ll give him that.
Another unique element is that Bill, the killer, has multiple personality disorder. So the nature of this switching places with his victims is Bill putting on a one man show as a large cast of characters that affected his life. People like his parents, a violent cellmate, his defence attorney and so on.
All the while, physical torture is inflicted on Craig and he plays along opposite Bill in the hopes of getting out of that night alive.
There are a few movies with the title The Basement, so to be clear, this is the 2018 film co-directed by Brian M. Conley and Nathan Ives. The pair are also producers and co-writers of the script, with additional writing by Sean Decker (“Abducted”).
For Conley, this is a promising debut feature as a writer/director. Nathan Ives, on the other hand made a lateral move, he is best known for making comedies and the romantic anthology movie A Christmas in New York. Not exactly a smooth transition into blow torch decapitation, and yet Conely and Ives deliver the horror genre goods.