What needs to be locked away?
Well, if you’re a fan of short horror/sci-fi films featuring aliens and a cure for cancer, then Beyond the Basement door is the perfect thing for you. I think that it is interesting to contrast such diverse, yet popular, themes with each other whilst still maintaining a coherent plot line. The worry about a cure for cancer is very much a modern problem, yet the idea of aliens seems to have been around forever. To use these two things together makes Beyond the Basement Door an intriguing little film to watch. The secret, underground nature of the aliens present in this film show the common conspiracy that the people (perhaps the government?) really have gained knowledge and access to extra terrestrials, but this is not allowed to be discussed openly to the world. For this reason, there is an underlying unease that this could be happening in our world, as we speak. The recent movie, Dark Skies, used this idea too, with alien abduction from right beneath our very noses. What a terrifying prospect.
The director, Jason Huls, was very much influenced by American author H.P. Lovecraft and this is evident throughout Beyond the Basement Door. There aren’t so much explicit references as the general ideas explored within the film (such as forbidden knowledge and civilization under threat) which are a strong indicator of the inspiration behind this project. The title itself has a mystery about it, as, upon reading it, I could not tell what sort of horror film I was dealing with here. This helped to maintain the secrecy and the prohibited nature of the basement – which is something which is expressed explicitly throughout Beyond the Basement Door.
To summarize the plot line, Alistair was a scientist who was trying to save his own life from cancer. Having lost all of his funding and being fired by his boss, Alistair has to become involved with some very dangerous and unsettling people who effectively cure his cancer for a price. There’s a side issue (featuring Daniel Roebuck) here where his boss claims all of the credit for curing Alistair’s cancer – not knowing what dark lengths Alistair had gone to do it in a less conventional way.
I thought that Beyond the Basement Door worked well at building a tense, frantic atmosphere as the audience is placed in the mind of Alistair as he begins to realize the potential mistake that he’s gotten himself into. As the loud sounds from the basement start to draw the attention of the neighbourhood, he struggles to keep a ‘cool’ persona. This escalation into complete hysteria continues to rise until the very end of the film, when all is finally revealed! For me, the striking thing about Beyond the Basement Door is how it is essentially a complete story with the main questions answered, but I feel that this short film could belong in a larger world that still has many questions to be answered. Jason Huls has just created a franchise and I would be curious to see the next installment.
Beyond the Basement Door (short film) (2012)