Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nailed (2007)

Have you ever experienced an especially vivid nightmare filled with bright lights, dark corners and ominous figures that you could swear was actually happening? When you wake up, you feel disoriented, spooked an uneasy?

If you have, then you’ll pretty much know how you’ll feel watching Nailed, a surprisingly effective horror film!

This under-the-radar film starts off like a crime drama, with two low-level thugs, Keller (Charles Porter) and Scott (Sam Sarpong), dropping off a drug delivery only to find out they are smack-dab in the middle of a huge bust. After a chase through inner-city streets, during which Scott gets shot in the arm, the two take refuge in a boarded-up house. They assume they are all alone, until they hear strange sounds coming from upstairs. When they investigate, they find a man, bandaged head to toe, lying in a bed begin cared for his “caregiver,” Adam (Wilson Jermaine Heredia). Relieved to find a doctor in the house, they force Adam to patch up Scott’s arm. Keller and Scott are forced to stay in hiding in the house because the cops are still looking for them outside. That’s when things begin to get a little strange…

I wasn’t expecting all that much from this movie…with a name like Nailed, I was half-expecting this movie to feature half the cast from Jackass, complete with copious amounts of unnecessary nudity and over-the-top gory deaths. Much to my surprise, it was completely different from what I expected. It actually had a tense atmosphere and had me on the edge of my seat, you know, genuinely frightened! Imagine a horror movie doing THAT!!

Director Adrian O’Connell utilizes the cramped space of the boarded-up house and capitalizes on the claustrophobic atmosphere. Sunlight streaming in between the slats on the windows forms a sharp contrast to the murky depths of the house, creating a disorienting feeling. The intensity of the situation is multiplied by the fact that Scott is slowly bleeding to death and Keller is freaking out over the moans and groans that the man upstairs is making.

The film is essentially carried by the performances of the three actors inside the house (I’m not counting the man in the bed, since he doesn’t do much but groan) – Porter as Keller, Sarpong as Scott and Heredia as Adam and all three manage to pull it off. Porter plays the secretive Keller as the strong, silent one until his sanity begins to slowly deteriorate. Things inside the house start getting to him and he turns from calm and collected to frantic and desperate. Sarpong plays the light-hearted but with-something-to-prove Scott with ease, and actually makes the audience care about him even though he has shot a cop and continually threatens Adam. Adam is played by Heredia in a very creepy, detached way. Adam acts calm and emotionless, even when a gun is waved in his face, which makes you think from the start that something is just not right with him.

The film builds slowly, first with a few strange things occurring, which the characters just brush off as due to stress, but soon the scares become more and more frequent. Keller discovers a doll house that looks exactly like the one they are in, complete with boarded up windows and little dolls that look like him, Scott, Adam and the man in the bed. Then he begins getting sores all over his body and starts seeing things a little more…ominous. The pacing of the film is excellent and even the beginning with the drug bust and ensuing chase fits in. Director Adrian O’Connell and writer Stephen McAnena have created quite a taut film with Nailed.

My only complaint was that the ending felt a bit generic and can be figured out when you actually get into the film. Other than that, Nailed is a solid horror film that focuses more on psychological terror and cramped spaces than grue or goo.

Check it out if you’re looking for a terrifying trip…or just go watch Jackass.

Available on Amazon!

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