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Home | Film Reviews | Film Review: Don’t Look in the Cellar (2008)

Film Review: Don’t Look in the Cellar (2008)

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A group of college students regret their decision to sneak into the cellar of a haunted asylum on Halloween. One by one they encounter Smiley, the last of a flawed bloodline.


Written by: Carlos Perez and Dennis Devine
Directed by: Dennis Devine
Starring: Randal Malone, Shevaun Kastl, Tara Shayne, Jed Rowen, Anya Benton


OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one – a group of college kids want to get a better grade and decide to get extra credit from their much-too-hot-and-young-looking-to-be-true History Professor and decide to sneak into the cellar of their town’s local haunted asylum on Halloween night for a class research project detailing the history of not only the asylum itself, but also local urban legends in their town. Then there’s the loner girl who is forbidden by her much-too-hot-and-young-looking-to-be-true older sister to go to said asylum, but does anyway.

Big whoops on their parts because of course, this local asylum just happens to be the dwelling place of Smiley – the last (or is he…?) of “a flawed bloodline” as the synopsis so graciously told me before I watched this flick. Anyways, as the night closes in, the students must race against time to find out the truth behind the asylum before they’re all butchered by the grinning psycho.


I ask you, what kind of boring world would we live in without the old “college kids spending the night in an old and/or abandoned haunted house/asylum/castle on a dare/point-proving mission/class project on Halloween night only to get slaughtered one by one by a mutant/inbred and forgotten child all grown up and thirsty for blood/unstoppable killer (or any and all combinations of the above)” storyline to keep us all warm and cozy at night? Personally, some of my fondest horror memories (beginning with HELL NIGHT in 1980) have been in this very subgenre. Sadly, so have some of my worst memories thanks to having to sit through some major sh*tfests in this very same subgenre…

But, nobody’s perfect. And I do so loves me some indie horror slice-n-dice, no matter what the quality, when the vodka flows juuuuuuust right. After all, horror isn’t just about embracing the darkness and facing your fears through on-screen therapy, right? Sometimes it’s about laughing your ass off at stupid characters who do stupid things and about telling yourself that you’d never in a jizzillion years pull that big of a boner to cost you and your friends your lives if you were ever put in the same situation. That’s right, folks…sometimes horror, the very thing that should be scaring the sh*t out of you on the screen at any give time, is also one of the greatest sources of humor you could ever hope to have in your life; and to me, that’s what this flick is here for.


You’ve seen a lot of this before already in other movies but in the end, DON’T LOOK IN THE CELLAR is not as flawed as you might think, and is actually a nice little throwback to the early 80s flicks of this type that I never seem to get tired of. And while it’s a far from perfect flick with hit-and-miss acting (especially the Valley Girl-types, but Tara Shayne & Shevaun Kastl more than make up for that and shine through like champs!), plot holes galore, and silly explanation dialogue popping up from time to time, this is one of those times where it only added to the charm for me. It is what it is and you get what you get with these types of horror movies. And even though I saw through the “twist” ending about 15 minutes into it (word to the wise – next time TRY a little harder to not make it so obvious), I still enjoyed the sh*t out of this ride even though I knew the destination.

There’s lots of blood, lots of laughs, lots of bikinis and skimpy outfits, but not a lot of boobs…wait, what?? A college party/slasher flick without gratuitous nudity??!! That ain’t right at all. But still…I honestly enjoyed it, and it’s a cut above the Hollyweird remakes that are still getting shoved down our throats without mercy. And lack of boobs aside, lovers of indie slasher movies will want to check this out.

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