Condemned is a crazy film. It has elements of Cabin Fever and Troma films which I enjoy both thoroughly. I wouldn’t say I loved or even enjoyed the film however I was mesmerized by the wackiness of it all. Director Eli Morgan Gesner has a freaky imagination and I appreciate him for that.
Set in an abandoned/condemned building in New York, what is supposed to be empty is filled with the scum/underground/sinner’s of the big city. Now let me paint a picture for you, in one apartment is an orthodox Jew who has left his wife and kids for a transsexual prostitute who he now smokes meth with and acts as her pimp. I mean that shit is twisted. The film definitely challenges taste levels but most horror fanatics I’ve met have a pretty open mind. The other characters are just as messed up and crazy, these characterizations the film are really the highlight of Condemned. Like its title suggests these people have all been forgotten and made a sanctuary in the fiery depths of hell.
The plot is a thin one – it begins with a rich girl going to stay with her rockstar boyfriend in the condemned building. Due to one of the tenants pouring toxic chemicals in the drains the other tenants start turning into crazed, pus filled lunatics. The leads of the film are so beige compared to the rest of the cast but maybe this was the intention of the director.
The camera work gets A for effort. Some wicked screen magic in which we get point of view shots through the pipes of the building into each derelict apartment. Also the fantasies of some of the characters really stuck out as original and fun. As you can imagine from this review I was IMPRESSED by the characters. I’m one for going full balls crazy which these people are. Yet I wish the narrative followed suit.
About half way through the film once the virus (or whatever is turning the people into loonies) is spread through out the building I found the action and narrative went from fourth gear to one. The film felt a bit meandering at this point and lost its footing when it came from such a damn awesome beginning. The gore is brutal and is just what gore hounds will love but by the end of the film I was a little bored. A note worth mentioning is when the protagonist in a film is not worth rooting for and plain unlikable the film can fall flat which is the case in point of Condemned.
Yet I don’t want to say this is a bad film at all, its creative and crazy which are big points from me. Condemned is one frantic, fever dream which you should visit.
CONDEMNED is directed by Eli Morgan Gesner and stars Dylan Penn, Ronen Rubinstein, Lydia Hearst, Jon Abrahams, Honor Titus and Genevieve Hudson-Price. It is now available in limited theaters and digital HD courtesy of RLJ Entertainment.