Combining Eliza Dushku of Wrong Turn and Buffy fame with pretty boy Chase Crawford from Gossip Girl already seems like the perfect chemistry for a horror film. Then you mix in an abandoned insane asylum with a shady past and the blanket of night, and you have the makings of almost every B-movie produced in the past decade. The premise of Eloise is a repeat of so many horror movies before it, but they change it just enough to make the movie a semi-interesting if not a little confusing direct to DVD movie.
Eloise revolves around Crawford’s character Jacob, who is being offered a substantial sum of inheritance money as long as he can prove that his aunt, who was committed to an asylum, died there. It turns out that to gain access to her records, Jacob will have to wait months, a prospect he is not too keen on. Instead of doing things the stay-alive-y way, Jacob, his friend, a guy they found online, and his sister decide to break into the abandoned mental hospital at night to retrieve the file. Of course, things go wrong, and not everyone makes it out of there alive. The events that take place inside of the hospital are slightly perplexing, but they pay off in the end even if the ending does leave you with a few questions and the possibility of a sequel.
The acting was above average for this kind of movie, but it makes sense considering that the two leads have been in major motion picture and television roles. I am a fan of Dushku, and I don’t have any qualms with Crawford. Even P.J. Byrne, who I only recognize as a side character in one of the Final Destination movies, does a great job at playing a person with developmental delays. The great Robert Patrick also has what could be considered a guest role in the movie, which I think was a mistake. There is a lot more that they could have done with his character than they did.
I really don’t have anything negative to say about this movie. If I had to pick something that would have turned this from a direct to video thriller to a theatrical release I would say they could have strengthened up the story a little to make you care more about the characters. Some movies are just destined for a home release, and if more of them were like this the home release wouldn’t get such a bad rap.
Though Eloise is far from a perfect movie, it is not a terrible one. I think there is a lot to enjoy about this movie including a bit of time-hopping, which requires some attention to understand what is going on. The ending is frustrating, yet satisfying at the same time and leaves you wanting more, which I think is the hallmark of a good movie. This is far from a perfect movie, but it a decent little flick for a night on the couch with a bowl of popcorn.