Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

‘Nine Miles Down’… Hell has a Zip Code! That’s not the actual tagline for this movie ‘Nine Miles Down’ but it’s the one I would’ve given it. This probably explains why they don’t allow me to write taglines for movies.

Adrian Paul is Thomas Jackman, affectionately called Jack by his friends. Jack is a security guard for some operation out in the Sahara and he has been dispatched to this operation because nobody has heard from anybody in this operation for quite a while. Jack rides out to this dust storm ravaged facility and it doesn’t take long to realize that something is terribly wrong. Perhaps it’s the bloody Arabic scribbling on the wall… I don’t know, or the sacrificed animals lying in circular Stars of David or the dead bodies wrapped in cellophane… but something just ain’t right. Anyway, time to settle in at the hellish facility and start fresh the next day.

The next day Jack gets some more info about what this scientific team was doing, that being drilling deeper into the earth that anybody has ever drilled before. Another strange thing that happens is that there is one person still alive and kicking at this facility. Why Jack couldn’t find this person last night is a bit of a mystery and the fact this person seemed to be getting her daily exercise by jogging in middle of the Sahara Desert was also peculiar but we’re rolling with it. This person is Dr. Jennie Christiansen (Kate Nauta) or J.C. for short. J.C. matter of factly informs Jack that everybody’s dead and they need to leave. Sounds cool to Jack but his asshole boss back at home base informs him to hold tight until the authorities come. That is after these authorities finish up with some other more pressing order of business as this ritualistic murder scene at this facility is obviously of low importance.

J.C. isn’t happy about this but the pair settle on down for the duration and get to know each other a little bit. Then the visions begin. Jack starts seeing all manners of weirdness, such as his dead wife for instance. Then there’s J.C. who doesn’t seem to

be on the list of scientist that are supposed to be at this facility. Not to mention the weird screams that the scientist have recorded emanating out from the depths of this hole they have dug. As crazy as it sound it’s looking like this crew has gone and opened a hole into hell. Crazy. And this J.C…? She just might be Satan, not that this is going to stop anybody from having sex with her. I mean she is hot. Beelzebub… Pootang… Beelzebub… pootang. Pootang wins again! So either The Crazy done got into Jack or the Devil is real. Which one is it…and that is the question that ‘Nine Miles Down’ is asking us to decide on.

Directed by Andrew Waller, ‘Nine Miles Down’ is a movie that started out with some real solid potential. The setup was cool and the way that we were spoon fed little tidbits of the story worked mighty well. What also worked very well was the way the movie was written, at least early on, that really kept us guessing as to what was really going on at the facility and I also like the way they gradually introduced The Crazy into the character of Jack. The filmmakers made great use of the environments that they were given to work with, using these empty barracks that the movie largely takes place in to great effect and when required, using the desert setting worked to good effect as well. A very solid and ominously spooky start for this movie ‘Nine Miles Down’.

But a couple of things in my opinion keep ‘Nine Miles Down’ from ascension. This movie is largely a two person play and though there is a lot of weird imagery and camera trickery in support of these two people, the success of lack thereof rests almost completely in the hands of these two people. For his side of this play Adrian Paul seemed up for the task for the most part and this was no easy task to pull off having to waver back and forth between normal and crazy all the while being lucid enough to question what is really going on in his mind. Kate Nuata however didn’t fare quite as well. A lot of this could be because the character that she had to play was confusingly written almost from the start and when we finally get to the big reveal her characters actions become even more confusing. She does have the ability to look mighty demonic at times though, despite the fact her character seemed far too young to be some PhD at this monumental dig in the Sahara, but it is a movie and we know that people in movies do have to be good looking.

The story also begins to lose its grip as the movie moves into its third and final act as well. Though I would like to pass this off as part of the whole ‘crazy’ narrative it didn’t really add up, particularly once all of the cards were laid on the table at the conclusion of the movie, ultimately bringing more questions to the surface than legitimate answers.

‘Nine Miles Down’ is an interesting movie to attempt to deconstruct because I don’t know how high your expectations would be for this movie going into it, but as it started out it far exceeded my expectations, for it only to let me down at the end. Which still, in the final analysis, exceeded my expectations for this film.

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