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November 11, 2014

Movie Review: Locked In (2010)

Directed by Suri Krishnamma

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

“The story moves through the lives of two fragile yet determined people and maps a private geography of love, loss and ultimate redemption. Josh leaves his advertising career at its peak, everyone wants either to be him or to have him. Then he walks away from it all, the money, recognition and the life. A car accident will leave his daughter in a strange coma and when everyone has given up she starts communicating with him, or is he going mad?”

Pfffffft. Not even close!

In a recent pile of goodness sent to this reviewer by the fine folks at Cinema Head Cheese, the DVD for Locked In stood out. Artless, banal cover graphic. Lead actor Ben Barnes staring into space without emotion. A movie from 2010 now just getting a release in the final months of 2014. Could this be … something remarkably horrible? One that would stop the viewer in its tracks with its ineptitude in the manner of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003)?

Seventy-nine minutes later, the answer was yup, yup, yup, yup, but this doesn’t make it a good thing.



Disregard the official synopsis listed above. Husband and wife Josh (Barnes) and Emma (Sarah Roemer) are driving home with their young daughter Brooke (played by twins Abby and Helen Steinman), Christmas tree strapped to their roof when Josh loses control of the car which somersaults inside a tunnel. Josh and Emma are uninjured, but Brooke goes into a coma where she will be able to live life trapped inside her mind – the “locked in” of the title.

As it turns out, that last bit has little to nothing to do with the story at heart. The film then flashbacks on Halloween night, when the family ran out of candy. Josh, on the pretext of getting more treats, uses the opportunity to wander to an upscale bar to which he meets and later beds down with hottie Renee (Eliza Dushku). Our sympathy or our erstwhile “hero” is straightway tossed out the window: He’s only out the door for a few minutes on a mission to get trick-or-treats only to wander to a watering hole to bang some skank! Thanks dad!

Ever the scheming seductress, Renee surreptitiously uses Josh’s cell phone to broadcast their cries of passion as Emma listens. Understandably put out, the couple put the episode behind them in time for their yuletide traffic accident.

Plot points are introduced and abandoned at a lightning pace. Josh investigates the possibilities that Renee could have run them off the road. As the crash is shown plainly at the beginning of the film, the fact is made clear to the audience that this is strictly a single-vehicle accident. A supernatural element is introduced with Josh receiving cell phone calls from his unconscious daughter, but this is dropped and not mentioned again. Most infuriatingly, a smiling “spiritual familiar” (Clarke Peters) wanders in off the street and into the hospital to wave his hands over Brooke and says things like “We’re running out of time.” (“Did you find him on the Internet?” Emma asks Josh.)

Is there enough unintentionally funny stuff to make Locked In on par with Wiseau’s immortal vanity project? There is! Josh runs back to the bar where he met Renee – an imposing place that comfortably seats 500 people easy, to ask the barkeep, “Do you remember the girl I brought in several months ago?” There are a few dialogue howlers as well. At one point Josh says to the bitchy Renee, “I want – to fuck THE LIFE!” Don’t know what that means, friends.

Sloppy and beyond ridiculous, Locked In is a reminder on how bad movies are inherently – no fun. The DVD from Lionsgate is free of extras, although there is a trailer for the notoriously incomprehensible science-fiction thriller from Russia, Branded (2012). Remember that one? Didn’t think so …

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