Walled In (2009)

Walled In is a rather lacklustre affair that recalls some of the giallo greats in tone and visuals, if not in content. Sam Walczak (Mischa Barton) is a recent University graduate who holds a new engineering degree that she decides to put to use by joining the family demolition business. Her first assignment, given to her by her Father, is to travel to a, once luscious but now dilapidated, apartment building in a remote location and analyse the structural integrity before the guys with the dynamite come on the scene.

Once there, she is shown to her room and meets an assortment of the remaining tenants, all of which are preparing to leave in timely fashion before the building goes boom. The caretakers son Jimmy (Cameron Bright; the creepy kid from Godsend and Uwe Boll cack-fest Ultraviolet) takes a shine to her and tells her the tale of the supposedly genius Architect; Joseph Malestrazza, who built the apartment complex and lived there until, in a police raid, he was found dead, surrounded by 16 people whom he had killed and sealed in cement, inside the walls. Sam begins to find it increasingly difficult to tell fact from fiction as the buildings secrets start to come to light and she eventually finds herself the unwilling recipient of Jimmy’s alarming obsessions.

Walled In expects the viewer to suspend disbelief on a number of aspects, the most far-fetched of which is that we are supposed to believe, without question, that The OC’s Mischa Barton is a demolitions expert with a degree in Engineering. Sure, she ties her hair back, keeps the make-up to a minimum and bumbles about in lumberjack shirts but she always looks like a fish out of water. Her acting skills also leave quite a lot to be desired. Deborah Kara Unger has an impressive body of work and is always a delightful addition to everything I’ve seen her in but opposite Barton her dialogue becomes wooden and stilted. None of the conversations between Barton and any other character have any realistic flow to them. It makes the whole thing seem forced and strangely languished.

The building itself is the most interesting character in the movie, sometimes managing to look sumptuous and labyrinthine and other times, looking like nothing more than an aging duplex. I suspect that most of it was constructed on a soundstage somewhere but if it were a real building, inside and out, it would surely have been restored and be attracting visitors looking for an architectural and cultural treat.

Walled In is almost devoid of any gore which would be absolutely fine if it offered any notable scares in place of the red stuff but alas, it never does. The plot, while relatively interesting, is a half-baked affair that peaks before the conclusion and doesn’t offer anything in the way of common sense or sufficient explanation. It often shows promise but then goes and does something utterly nonsensical that nullifies all of its’ prior potential.

If Walled In had had a better script, a more capable lead actress, a plot that didn’t have more holes than Swiss cheese and a few effective frights then it might have been worth watching. As it stands, give this one a wide berth.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.