Confined January 31, 2011Posted by Rusty in 0-12, confined.
First and foremost, welcome to birthday week here at Lifetime, Wow! Kate goes first on the 4th and H$ follows her up on the 5th. I’m lagging behind and totally miss the weekend with my birthday on the 7th. If you run into one of us on the streets of Portland, ME or Columbus, OH, please buy us booze.
Birthdays or not, every now and then there’s a movie so bad that it makes me question the whole project. Why would the Lifetime Movie Network do this to me? Why would they produce such a hilarious plot synopsis for a movie that is so joyless? Even the Time Warner description of Confined was great: “A woman is convinced her neighbor is up to no good.” Ha! And the woman was right! She had the neighbor pinned dead to rights. That neighbor was a no-goodnik.
The film opens with an action sequence of a man terrorizing a boy in a house that’s locked from the inside and pushing him down the stairs. The bad guy is supposed to be a mystery but after the next scene, a 12-year flashforward, the film makes it very clear as to who the bad guy is. It’s the neighbor. Fritz Wolfram.
So we have a family of three moving to the suburbs. The mom, Victoria, is on leave from an architecture firm for mental illness. The dad, Michael, and their college aged daughter, Eva, are both dicks. Here is how much they are dicks: the very first morning in the new house Michael leaves on an overnight business trip that he hadn’t previously mentioned and Eva takes the other car for a three day trip to a college for freshman orientation. They just leave their mentally ill mom in a new house by herself with no food (they had to get pizza delivered the night before) and no transportation. I especially love Victoria’s shock that the nearest grocery store is a ten minute drive.
Victoria is going upstairs to bed when she notices the word “Help” on her neighbor’s basement window. The neighbor appears even creepier when she catches him burying something human sized at 5:30 in the morning.
The next day, Victoria remains stranded in suburbia so she decided to go full-Scooby Gang and commences with the snooping. She digs around the neighbor’s back yard and finds some dog tags, so I guess that explains that? She also peers into the window that had “Help” written across it and now it’s all blacked out. But if you look close enough you can still see a human hand in a cage? I dunno, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Victoria is about to get busted by Fritz, but she magically disappears. Seriously. That is what happens. She is hiding, makes too much noise and is about to be caught, but then she’s gone.
This movie is really terrible.
That night her husband catches her at 4:30 in the morning staring at her neighbor’s house. On one hand they imply that he just got back from his trip, but on the other hand he mentions that she’s been acting like this for weeks. But it’s the same night that she went snooping and found the dog tags? This movie is just incredibly loosey-goosey with chronology.
The next day Michael reaffirms his dickhead status by ambushing Victoria. They’re walking around town and he says he has a surprise for her. That surprise is a doctor who knows all of her business and offers her a scrip for sleeping medication. This guy is such an asshole.
Victoria calls the cops on her neighbor like a crazy person and of course that goes nowhere. So her next move is to call one of her building inspector buddies to go in and inspect the basement. The inspector lady finds something and sends an image out to Victoria, but she gets caught and hit on the head with a shovel. Boink!
So now with her friend all disappeared Victoria KNOWS that something is amiss. So she confronts Fritz and starts shoving and hitting. So the psycho with the mystery basement takes a restraining order against her. I guess this is supposed to make the second half of the movie more dramatic, but Victoria was already trespassing and assaulting, so the stakes don’t really go anywhere.
After a dream where Victoria accidentally stabs her husband, she goes right back to Fritz’s to break into the basement. Michael is still a dickhead and tells their daughter to go off to college without saying “goodbye” to Mom.
But of course she isn’t crazy at all. There’s a young woman living inside a hollowed out basement wall. It’s Fritz’s daughter! She witnessed her older brother get killed falling down the stairs and so her parents holed her up inside the wall.
Let that sink in.
That makes no sense.
Victoria runs back to the house and starts talking crazy and her husband won’t have any more of it. Victoria finally convinces him when Fritz sneaks up on him and hits him in the head with his trusty shovel.
Ugh, this movie keeps treating Fritz like he is Michael Myers. Michael (the husband, not The Shape) comes to and there’s all this drama like it’s this family fighting an unstoppable killer. IT IS AN OLD, FRAIL MAN WITH A SHOVEL. GRAB A FUCKING KNIFE.
Fritz falls down some stairs and is arrested and his wife is arrested too. The daughter goes to social services and the friend turns out to be ok without any explanation of where she’s been for the past 24 hours.
What can I say? There was nothing here. Nothing made sense. The acting was bad. The direction was bad. There was never any tension. It didn’t even have the decency to be goofy like that other Lifetime movie that starred a Buffy alumnus. Oh, that’s right! I forgot to mention who played Victoria…
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 2
Victoria was played by Emma Caulfield, aka Anya from seasons four through seven on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And yes I know she was a recurring character in a few season three episodes but I’m not counting those because it’s important to note that she was there during the bad years.
Also, reminder: Fritz’s last name was Wolfram. Cue the sad trombone! Buffyverse jokes are never acceptable. Except for when I make them. Like when I said she was going “full Scooby Gang.” You see what I did there? Because they called themselves the Scoobies?
Speaking of dork shows, Fritz was played by some dude named Michael Hogan who was featured in Battlestar Galactica.
I’d also like to point out that the actresses that played Victoria and her college aged daughter looked about the same age. Total casting fail.
Women’s intuition, detectives that don’t believe in that intuition and I think some bonus points for a totally awful husband. Granted he wasn’t philandering or raping or anything like that, but the husband was a bad dude no matter how positively he was portrayed.
GRAND TOTAL: 10
One of the lowest in history. Do not let the awesome plot synopsis fool you. This movie is a piece of crap.