DVD Review: Catacombs
Studio: Lions Gate
DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
Directed By: Tomm Coker, David Elliot
Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, Pink, Mihai Stanescu, Emil Hostina
Brutal As Hell Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars
Review By: Marc Patterson
When Victoria (Shannyn Sossamon, Wristcutters: A Love Story) decides to take a trip overseas to visit her sister Carolyn (pop star Pink) in Paris she gets into far more than she anticipates. Carolyn, her worldly party hearty sister is bound and determined to get Victoria to cut loose of her anxieties by scaring the daylights out of her. She takes Victoria down beneath the streets of The City of Lights to the legendary catacombs, a two hundred mile long maze of dark corridors, which serve as a final resting ground to millions of dead Parisians. Beneath the streets in the seemingly endless catacombs Carolyn’s friends throw illegal raves, which are never in the same place twice, just to stay ahead of the police. Things go wickedly awry when Victoria wanders away from the party and gets lost, and ends up facing far more horrors than her fears, as the stories of a monster turn out to be more fact than fiction.
Sossamon is a solid actress and delivers a fairly convincing performance as anxiety ridden Victoria. It was too bad her character was so damn annoying; otherwise she could have been far more pleasurable to watch. Pink did a decent job with her role as well, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say there was any real acting done. Much like Lindsay Lohen, she seems to just play a part that requires her natural personality to shine through in order to offset her lack of experience on film sets. Production wise, a solid effort was put together and didn’t show too many holes.
Effectually speaking Catacombs did what it was supposed to do. There wasn’t much of a plot line, but there never is with a film like this, and you can’t fairly count that against it. As the viewer you definitely get the feeling of being hopelessly lost in the dark, and everyone should be able to relate to the nightmare of running from an unseen terror, but yet never seeming able to get away. The quick cut editing creates the wonderfully horrific feeling of claustrophobia, which effectively leaves you gasping for air.
Hardcore horror fans will likely be put off by this horror-lite job from the same production company that has given us the notoriously vicious Saw franchise. The lack of any real gore was also a put off, as I do enjoy a copious amount of splatter with my horror. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the film. It just means that you’ll need to leave any preconceptions of this being in the same ballpark (nay, same ballgame) as Saw at the door.
Bottom line? Catacombs is a light and entertaining monster story with a few genuine frights. It’ll make a good film to watch in with the lights turned out, and makes a recommended rental. Just don’t expect too much.