Ella suspects her handsome fiance is having an affair and strongly insists on breaking into his outer city storage unit to find proof. Ella’s felonious friend Molly tags along to aid in the break-in, but deep down in the basement level of EEZZEE storage, Ella and Molly release a terrifying secret that’s now running loose and causing a murderous campaign in the maze-like structure of the storage facility. Along with a handful of other unfortunate storage unit renters, Ella finds herself trapped in the facility’s after hours lockdown and in the bloody nightmare path of the Hoarder, who won’t stop seeking to stock his very own unique “collection” back in the belly of the dark basement.
Writer-director Matt Winn’s sophomore feature film “The Hoarder” stars Mischa Barton of “The O.C.” fame and Barton portrays the seemingly suspicious and risk-taker Ella. Barton has been through a string of B-horror and other B-movie films that’s far from more of her previous popular works, yet seeing her name headline a film simply entitled “The Hoarder” feels unexplainably awkward. If you’re not familiar with Mischa Barton, Amy Smart (“Mirrors,” “The Butterfly Effect”) is another one of those relatively known actresses that hang onto the B-horror and Hollywood horror fringe line and not securely rooting a place amongst the two very different planes. But Barton is surrounded by a formidable B-movie cast or an ensemble of television actors to where they’ve received their popularity and recognition. “Prison Break’s” Robert Knepper, “The Tudors” Charlotte Salt, and “The Fall’s” Valene Kane co-star alongside Barton. However, Andrew Buckley, as the EEZZEE storage unit manager, is the most entertaining and interesting character with his non-threatening physique, his deadpan comedy, and sheer intensity when provoked. Even though they’re storage units of talent, collectively the actors don’t play well off each other and don’t share the situation as a whole. Rather, each character tries to go into their own personal demons and not into the evil their neck deep at the current moment.
The Matt Winn script, co-written by Chris Denne and James Handel, and direction are well-paced for timing, are attentively consuming from the beginning to end, and are structured soundly to withstand a pretty good and unexpected finale twist. However, the script doesn’t come without its flaws, developing plot holes through the duration that are not explained well enough to extinguish post-viewing questions. Also, a few of the minor characters needed their story to be explored more to give them more worth. I wanted to care more about the character Willow and her drug addiction and the character Vince and his undisclosed corrupt cop business, but couldn’t quite grasp their backstories and their motivations, leaving Willow and Vince as inessential dust particulars instead of full-bodied hair ball critters that one can’t help by notice. The finale successfully satisfies the B-Horror mold that puts that welcoming final stake into “The Hoarder” of ever being a thought of a Hollywood production. And that’s a solid quality to obtain.
I did expect more of a gory display from special effects supervisor Scott McIntyre. While whatever effects made the film’s final cut were well executed, such as mouths being sewn or stapled shut, much of McIntyre’s talent wasn’t exhibited or perhaps even used. With big time feature credits such as “Enemy at the Gates,” “Mindhunters,” and a more under the radar credit in the more recent “Cockneys Vs Zombies,” “The Hoarder” could have been far more gruesome and unpleasant in a tasteful expo. Aside from the squandering of McIntyre’s talents, the Eben Bolter’s dull cinematography on a well made storage unit set and the Andrew Pearce and Xavier Russell repetitive and cheap soundtrack score blandly conveys menacing “The Hoarder” rightfully deserves.
RLJ Entertainment adds to their collection with the not rated DVD release of “The Hoarder.” Beneath the embossed DVD sleeve and casing, the DVD video quality is comprised of a sleek 2.40:1 widescreen presentation with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. No flaws detected in either audio or video during the 86 minute runtime. Dialogue, soundtrack, and ambient tracks were appropriately balanced and clear and the video quality is sharp with natural skin tones and prevalent ominous yellow and blue hues. The only bonus feature is “The Making of The Hoarder” which consists of the cast and crew reliving their experience on set and how the feature became to be developed. Overall, “The Hoarder” concept has a strong story attraction, but the resulting film can’t seem to fully shake the teeter-totting performances and the sizable plot holes that water down the finer portions of the film.