Marnie (Famke Janssen) receives an escort home from scowling cop Shanks (Bobby Cannavale). She's in handcuffs and he's in a strop, as they pull up to her terraced house and begin tearing through the police tape to make their way inside.
Once in, they're greeted by friendly cop Jimmy (John Fallon), who fits an ankle bracelet to Marnie and explains how the device works: she's on house arrest following a spell in prison for the murder of her husband - Shank's partner - and if she strays more than 100 feet from the central alarm positioned at the top of her stairs, her bracelet will trigger an alert directly to the cops. In which event, she'll go straight back to prison where more beatings from the inmates surely await her. If she attempts to remove the bracelet, the same will happen.
Shanks then leaves Marnie to settle in to her derelict dwelling, pointing out the dried blood on the wall and informing her she has the next two years to live there and think about what she did.
Marnie does her best to make the place feel like a home again, cleaning up and arranging for an electrician to come and reconnect her power. But the place is hardly homely - despite family photographs on the walls, bumps in the night and burglars breaking in during the early hours are never a good sign.
Still, things begin to look up for Marnie when she starts ordering groceries from the store on the corner. The delivery boy Joey (Ed Westwick) is a cute lad who takes an instant shine to her and agrees to make regular house calls, believing her story that she "works from home". Marnie even adopts a stray cat for further company, after finding it huddled beneath her bed.
For a while she attributes the strange noises in the night to the cat. But that can't explain the kitchen crockery smashing by it's own accord. Marnie witnesses this and, far from being surprised, screams "This is my house and I'm not leaving! You'll have to kill me first!".
So, Marnie decides to stay in her poltergeist-blighted home, partly because she refuses to relinquish the place to the ghost and partly because the alternative - prison - is even more daunting. Consequently she receives numerous cuts and bruises from encounters with the angry apparition, arousing the suspicions of both Joey and a watching Shanks.
The only way forward for Marnie appears to be confessing to her husband's murder to Joey, explaining that she had to do it - and that the ghost is indeed old news. She asks Joey to pop to the local library to pick up some books with advice on how to rid your home of an "unwanted entity" …
Janssen looks formidably dowdy in the role of Marnie, removing her make-up to add authenticity to an already good performance. As a strong female lead, she convinces. However there are several key moments in 100 FEET where a more vulnerable disposition would have benefited the dramatics. And Janssen, as good as she is, is not vulnerable.
Still, it's a fine effort, let down a tad by the risible performances of pretty much everyone else concerned. Cannavale is particularly ripe, with his permanent pet lips and sulky scowls. Look out for Uwe Boll's mate Michael Pare too, barely recognisable in a key role later into the film.
The plot offers nothing new and makes no attempt at adding fresh twists to it's conventional unfolding. However it's competently directed by Eric Red in a manner that serves the simple schematics well. The film doesn't really go anywhere, but agreeably keeps things trim of surplus exposition and sub-plotting.
It's commendable to find a low-budget US horror offering these days that avoids the trappings of gore and torture, and 100 FEET does just that. Which is refreshing in intent, even if the attempts at atmosphere and dread sometimes don't succeed.
100 FEET is fun enough to recommend as a watch, if perhaps not a buy. It culminates in a final fifteen minutes that allow silliness to prevail, but at least boasts a ghost that looks to have been inspired by the ghoul in CARNIVAL OF SOULS.
A sterling 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer offers an excellent, sharp picture that has the sheen of a commercial or music video.
English audio is available in 2.0 and 5.1 mixes and, as with the picture, these offer flawless playback.
Static menus include a scene-selection menu allowing access to 100 FEET via 8 chapters.
The only extra on the disc is a 90-second trailer for the film, presented in anamorphic 2.35:1.
It's clear to see why this modest chiller didn't play in cinemas despite the draw of Janssen in the lead role. It feels "small" in every way - budget, FX, setting, concept, plot. But it'll pass a rainy afternoon perfectly well.
Review by Stu Willis
|Released by Dnc Entertainment|
|Region 2 - PAL|
|see main review|