11-11-11 is yet another supernatural horror film that rides on the end of days bandwagon about the gates of hell opening on November 11, 2011 to welcome the devil. It was released in the US on 11-11-11 but was only shown in Philippines four months after. Too bad, as an actual date release could have boosted interest for this movie, much like The Omen, which was released on 6-6-6 (June 6, 2006).
The film, written and directed by Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman revolves around atheist bestselling author Joseph Crone, who lost his faith in God completely after his wife and son were killed in a fire initiated by one of his rabid fans who took his book too seriously. Almost a year after the tragedy, Joseph is urged by his publisher to write a new book based on his journal but his anguish is yet too fresh for him to commit. In order to cope with his loss, he attends a support group where he is befriended Sadie, a woman who has also lost a loved one. Sadie gives him a notebook and as he makes his way home, he gets in an car accident and emerges with only minor injuries. On the same day, he receives a call from his estranged brother that their father is dying. Joseph reluctantly takes the next flight to Spain to revisit his childhood home, which he considers the site of many sad memories but at the same time, begins to notice that his strange hallucinations about his family is getting more frequent, as well as the appearance of the number 11-11 in his daily life. Conflicted but convinced that the number is connected to a bigger scheme, Joseph resolves to protect his brother, a pastor of a small congregation from the evil looming with the arrival of 11-11-11.
We have a saying in Filipino when people get duped, that the victims are na-onse (onse is Spanish for eleven). I’m not rally sure what the logic is behind this saying but this aptly describes how my brother and I felt as we finished the 90-minute snoozefest — the brooding characters, the drawn out dialogues, the overly dark interior shots, the cliched cults that threatened at the gates of the church and the internet researches leading to a group called the “Eleveners.” It was like the filmmakers managed to piece together all of these possible ways to connect the lead character to the number 11-11 and he was only able to see the pattern three days before the biggest 11-11 occurred, which is kind of lame. Compounding the movie’s sins was the lengthy Spanish dialogues that had no subtitles to guide audiences over what was being said, or explained.
In all fairness to the film, there were valid attempts to establish its horror potentials, such as the narrative of Joseph’s journal, and Michael Landes’s effective portrayal as Joseph’s cripple brother Samuel. Bousman also made sure that there was a Saw-like twist at the end of the movie, which was one of the film’s main strengths — a seeming reward for audiences who prevailed in their battle against sleep. Sadly, judging by the snores in the cinema, many were already gone before then.