Meet Stanley Farmer (played by Charlie Floyd). He’s an aspiring filmmaker. Only problem is he has a psychotic way of expressing himself. But, as this dark and witty horror film makes clear, a lot of people are willing to overlook such a thing. Putting one’s life in danger, even pretty much guaranteeing your life is in danger, won’t stop some from seeking a touch of glamour and fame, even if it’s of the most dubious sort. We live in such a disposal and alienated society. Some would call it, hyperreal. Times like these demand a good shock to the system that a good meta horror movie can deliver.
One moment, you could be passively lurking on your laptop and, the next, you could be inside some stranger’s home on the verge of engaging in something. Something? That’s what each person who answers Stanley’s ad is wondering about. What is the “something” that will happen if they choose to spend the night in his basement? Stanley won’t tell. It would ruin the surprise. He explains to each of his potential victims, or…actors, that he is after authentic responses to fear. And like perfect lemmings, each one readily accepts the reality television model.
One participant, a pert and lovely young woman named Sylvia (played by Jessica Green) only asks for some nominal reassurance, “You’re not going to kill me at all?” Stanley lays on what still sounds like a suspicious charm and that is enough for Sylvia to follow him into the basement. What makes such a scene work so well is that it rings so true.
We don’t know what is real anymore, do we? Well, sure, we do but–do we, really? The clever self-aware quality of “Do You Like My Basement?” provides the right amount of satirical bite that pulls you into the humor as well as the horror. Writer/director/producer Roger Sewhcomar set out to create something special, an intelligent horror film, and he truly succeeds. This is a thoughtful thriller with references to the Michael Powell 1960 classic, “Peeping Tom,” but with an utterly contemporary sensibility. Camera work is both slick and jittery when needed. A strong cast will keep you glued to your seat. The contrast between pleasant big city apartment and dank and creepy basement is truly jarring and, even if the characters are easily lured in, it will prove an effective reality check for you, the viewer.
Early on, we witness a tragic murder caught on tape, a little “something” that occurred at some point. By the time we view the first audition to Stanley’s experimental film, we’re so invested in the safety of the poor young man, Chad (played by Devon Talbott) that even the slightest sign of danger leaves us queasy. Adding to the suspense and disturbance, again, is how easily Chad is willing to put up with insults, innuendo, and unveiled threats of danger. The screws keep being turned, people keep entering Stanley’s apartment and not leaving. Stanley even gets a bit sloppy, seeming not to care if he gets caught. But he’s also a resilient chap as you’ll come to see for yourself.
On Wednesday, May 29th, NewFilmmakers presents its Experimental Documentary Series, a Short Film Program, and the new horror feature, DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? View details here.
And be sure to check out the DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? website here.