Each week, Netflix Watch Instantly adds hundreds of new titles. Four or five are movies you want to watch, some are bad TV shows or camp classics, and most make no sense at all. Those in the latter category are puzzling: not bad enough to be good and certainly not good enough to be interesting. In this column, comedian Max Silvestri will review a new film on Netflix Watch Instantly and ask, what is this?
What It’s About: A young boy turns 11 on 11/11/11, so despite there being over 10,000 live births every day in the United States, that means he is the devil.
Who It’s For: People disappointed by how little The Number 23 focused on 9/11.
I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for numerology. I don’t believe in it, and I don’t care about actual numerology in real life, but I enjoy movies and TV about it even if they’re a little dumb. I loved the numbers on Lost (at first), and I actually gathered friends around at my house one afternoon years ago to watch the Jim Carrey movie The Number 23 on pay-per-view. I knew it was not going to be a good movie, but it was impressive how not good it was. What a bad movie. I think I saw Knowing in the theater, and whoa, what was that? Actually, the numbers on Lost turned out to be super dumb. I guess I take it back. I don’t like stuff about numerology. I just always think I do, and then I remember it’s ridiculous horseshit. It is not surprising no one has made a good movie about how sometimes numbers are weird. (Did you know that “Lincoln” and “Kennedy” each have seven letters and were elected to office in ’60 and also no, nope.)
11/11/11 is an American horror film that cashes in on all the hysteria about how one time this past year the date was all ones. (Though it actually wasn’t. It was 11/11/2011. A two-numeral year is just how computers keep track of things, I think. Y2K: never forget.) Remember all that hysteria on 11/11/11? I am so glad I stocked up on peanut butter back in October because it was too crazy outside to go shopping once ol’ Elevensies rolled around. I honestly don’t remember that day being that exciting, but it was potentially exciting enough that two horror/numerology films were made about that crazy coincidence: 11/11/11 and 11-11-11. Maybe I’ll watch the other one for a later column. (I won’t.)
I’m not going to bother too much with the plot of this movie, because the people who made this movie did not bother too much with the plot of this movie. It’s Rosemary’s Baby meets The Omen meets the production values of Poison Ivy 5: The Nu Seduction. Jack gets a job teaching at a college and moves his wife, Melissa, and his 10-year-old son, Nat, to a new town. Nat is not excited about moving, so he’s giving his parents the silent treatment. That’s all well and good, but he continues not talking the entire movie and his parents never really mention it again. If your kid is being a giant dick, you should really talk to him about it. Don’t let him get away with his petty little kid bullshit. Maybe your bad parenting is why Nat’s the gateway to the Apocalypse, Jack and Melissa.
What the family doesn’t know is that there was a gruesome murder at this house just a year ago. The professor who lived there (whom Jack is replacing) threw a New Year’s party and then everybody got shot and killed. The murderers then shot themselves. The movie opens with this scene, but we never learn why it happened. Also, the murderers dropped plastic wrap all around the partygoers right before the shootings, so as to contain the mess. What? If you are about to murder 10 people and then shoot yourself, why are you so concerned about making a mess? What thoughtful psychopaths. It’s almost like the producers of the movie didn’t want to get their house set dirty with some fake blood, so worked plastic wrap into their gruesome death scene. They probably filmed this movie at somebody’s mom’s house while she was out of town.
We establish that the house has a creepy past, and the neighborhood is filled with creeps that already seem to know a lot about Nat, especially that he’s shortly turning 11 on 11/11/11. All the weird neighbors try to hug him and get him to eat cookies and drink lemonade. We never quite learn why this kid is the devil. Is it because the house is haunted and that’s why its previous tenant was brutally murdered? If that were the case, what are the odds an 11-year-old with an 11/11/11 birthday would show up? Or was the professor murdered to make way for the Devil-Kid’s family to move in? How’d they know the dad would take this job? The only other sign that Nat is peculiar is that he doesn’t speak (because his parents made him move to this Devil House) and also we learn that he was two months premature. That’s pretty premature, but I don’t think that guarantees somebody is going to be pure evil. Maybe being two months premature plus being born on 11/11/00 makes you pure evil. Now we know.
Some “scary” things happen. The evil town tries to keep the mother from Nat by saying she’s pregnant and prescribing bed rest. They give her sedatives, which is very suspicious for a pregnant lady. There’s a dead cat and scratch marks on the wall and a crazy lady next door obsessed with Nat. Also, there are two deaths in their first two days in the neighborhood. That is quite a batting average. A dude sent to spackle the scratch marks on their wall gets so scared by the scratch marks that he runs into the street and gets run over in a classic surprise-truck scene. Then a neighbor falls off a ladder and gets impaled. There’s an evil nanny who murders a couple more people. There’s an ominous CGI bee’s nest. I realize this isn’t making sense, but trust me.
Finally it all comes to a head, and I don’t know what that means. The lighting gets kind of red and the neighbors show up and chant, and the dad starts beating people with shovels and baseball bats. It’s still unclear what Nat’s role is in all of this, or why the mother (but not the father) is so dangerous. The nanny electrocutes the mother. The creepy neighbor lady tries to strangle the boy but she was actually trying to help because the boy turns into the devil. (Turning into the devil means getting a little pale, right?) The movie ends with the father stabbing his own son to save the world. I certainly hope that’s why he did it. I didn’t walk away feeling confident the world was at stake here, but the dad was so confident he stabbed his son through the heart. I hope you are right, Dad. The cops come and arrest him.
The actual story doesn’t quite fit together, but let’s talk about the numerology part of this movie. When Nat walks up to the house for the first time, he sees the house number: 1415. He whispers, “11.” Yes, that is what those numbers add up to, but who cares? All numbers add up to something. A weirdo in the neighborhood says to the dad that 11 is the first number that you can’t count to on your hands, “human hands, at least.” What? There are so many numbers that you can’t count to on your hands. Also, who is counting numbers on their hands? The creepy neighbor says that 11 is the devil’s number because 10 is good: “1 plus 0 is 1.” This stuff is not checking out, guys! Finally, the kid gets this book as a present that is an 11th-Birthday Book. Sure, those exist, but we only ever see two pages (over and over). One says that the Devil will return as an 11-year-old boy on 11/11/11. OK, that really lays things out, but I have never heard that before. The other page is a picture of the twin towers. We see this page again and again in the movie, and characters keep bringing up the statistics. It says that on 9/11 Flight 11 carried 92 passengers. 9 + 2 = 11. Flight 77 had 65 passengers. 6+5=11. Wow, case closed. I’m convinced. 9/11 was an inside job by the Devil, or something. Think about it, sheeple. 9+1+1=11. Do I have to be any more explicit? The facts are there, and we are choosing to ignore them. We need to open our eyes. It is crazy all the ways this terrible horror movie doesn’t earn making 9/11 a part of it.
“George W. Bush” has 11 letters. So does “11/11/11 sucks.” Spooky.
When You Should Watch It: When you want to see what happens when you make a movie based off skimming an article on Snopes.
Max Silvestri is a comedian and a writer based in New York. Follow him on Twitter, where he mostly talks about food.
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