Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

When we first meet Marne Watson, as played by the always fetching Famke Janssen, she is being driven, in handcuffs, by the gruff Detective Shanks (Bobby Cannavale) who obviously doesn’t care too much for the girl. Now why would this be? This would be because Marne murdered Shanks partner who was also Marne’s abusive husband in his spare time, and is now being transported from the Big House to house arrest. Of course we could ask ourselves why, of all the cops in New York City, is this guy the one transporting Marne but then we wouldn’t have this great dramatic dynamic play out in director Eric Red’s haunted house movie ‘100 Feet’.

The title of the film stems from Marne’s tether which starts beeping anytime she gets 100 feet away from the base unit. Three minutes worth of beeps and its back to the Big House for Marne which would just make Detective Shanks day. So Marne’s back in the crib, blood stains still on the wall from where she shanked her husband Mike (Michael Pare) a few years back as she sets about getting ready for a life connected to a tether for the next year or so.

Damn if the strangest things don’t start happening to poor Marne. Weird sounds like footsteps are echoing through the house, candles get blown out only to relight themselves, blood stains which we thought we cleaned magically reappear and all kinds of weird stuff. As Marne’s crap luck would have it, turns out her dead husband is all up in her crib and as bad as he was in life… and he was terrible… he’s even worse in death possessing no concept of that whole ‘Death Do Us Part’ thing.

So what’s a girl to do? I know I would’ve run out of the house and back to the safety of prison but that’s just me. Marne, on the other hand, has had about as much abuse from Mike as she can stand and she will be gatdamned if she allows this dude, dead or otherwise, force her out of her own house.

Detective Shanks, who still hates Marne, is rightfully concerned how in the hell the woman is getting black eyes and bruised ribs, considering Marne is the only person in the house, but we know he can’t handle the truth. Marne also has a young paramour in the form of Joey the grocery delivery boy (Ed Westwick) who I’m thinking might want to take his cougar pursuits elsewhere. I’m not trying to give anything away but if Joey does manage to have sex with this woman I’m thinking he’d better put his back into it and get all he can because it just might be his last time. That’s just what I’m thinking. Eventually Marne’s angry dead husband has had enough and has decided that his wife should join him death so he can continue to beat her ass in perpetuity. Not cool, but how does one stop an invincible abusive pissed off apparition? As we like to say, good luck with that.

I gotta hand it to Eric Red because he has made a pretty damn effective horror / thriller here with ‘100 feet’. Oh it does have its issues here and there dipping its feet into the pool of character stupidity and implausibility on occasion but over all I thought this was an entertaining ride. The director even made me jump a little, which is very rare. You’re sitting there watching this movie waiting for the first scare, as one does in a film of this ilk, and you’re thinking here it comes… but no, that’s not it. You wait again thinking this must be it… but no, that not… OH DAMN! And there you go. A legitimate scare tactic enacted. I particularly enjoyed Framke Janssen’s reaction at that moment as her response was pretty much exactly what one would expect from someone in that situation. Her subsequent reactions… maybe not so much. But this does lead us into a fairly remarkable performance from Ms. Janssen in a movie that was almost entirely a one woman play. Characters and apparitions popped in and out on occasion but this was her movie to make or break and from where I was sitting she definitely made it with a performance that was both fearful and tough.

However despite my fondness for this particular movie Marne often behaves in a manner that I’m thinking a person being attacked by a violent vengeful spirit probably shouldn’t behave in certain situations. We buy into the fact that Marne refuses to leave the house, despite the fact that she would be safe outside the house, because she’s tired of being abused but other things she does, such as sticking her hand down a garbage disposal with full of the knowledge that there’s a hateful ghost looking over her shoulder… we do have to question. We also understand that Marne has been locked up for a while and as such hasn’t her gears lubed for a while, however we do find it a little selfish to have a young stud over for late night snack. Remember, as bad as this ghost is he does love her in his own special way. I don’t think he loves that guy that’s doing her. In his house. There are other things that Marne does which might defy logic here and there but then there is a ghost in the house which in itself is logic defying so we will let a lot of this slide. We also had an issue or two with the way the movie concluded but we won’t get into all of that either too much but it did feel like all ideas had been exhausted at that point.

The bottom line, at least for me, is that ‘100 Feet’ was a creepy, unsettling and entertaining horror flick carried by a very good performance from Framke Janssen and benefitting from some tight direction and nice spooky atmosphere.

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