Murder Eleven marks a stronger-than-average feature debut…
The box art of Murder Eleven is quite deceiving, focusing on the more lurid aspect of the film, parroting thousands of other low-budget, direct-to-video slasher fare that haunt the selections of Redbox stands everywhere.
It’s rather unfortunate because lurking under its titillating premise (two cops on the hunt of a serial killer) is a surprisingly intimate thriller with a few tricks up its sleeve and featuring rather strong dramatic performances from its leads.
That’s not to say it’s ready for prime time just yet, as there are some truly implausible moments contained within early on, but for those who seek to stick with it, Murder Eleven offers a number of reasons that place it notches above the bargain-bin fray.
Set in Atlantic City, the film opens with a first-person perspective of a captor who is sadistically taunting a prostitute he has bound to a chair in his garage. Richard (played by writer-director Jim Klock). We also meet Mayfield (played by Michael Mack) and Jesse (played by Richard Reid), two detectives assigned to a string of murdered hookers in the city.
Richard’s plan to off his next victim runs into a speedbump in the form of his wife, Samantha (played by Julienne Irons), who arrives home early and surprises her husband. Unfortunately, this is where the film’s initial speedbump, too, as this begins the highly implausible relationship in which a seemingly well-adjusted, professional woman would somehow accept any part of what she stumbles upon.
Perhaps if this were set in a trash-strewn trailer park with two rather ravaged souls as its lead couple this might be the slightest bit easier to swallow. But their home, a picture-perfect snapshot of suburban domesticity, undermines every move made by these two within its walls. The whole setup brings the narrative to a skidding halt…at first glance.
But soldier on, as things are certainly not what they seem. Additionally, you will be pleasantly rewarded with some accomplished acting from all, most notably from Mack and Reid as the low-budget variation of Se7en’s Morgan Freeman-Brad Pitt pairing. This may stem from Klock’s procedural knowledge, as Klock has also spent time behind a badge.
To reveal anything more would spoil the fun for adventurous viewers willing to stick with it. Some scenes may appear highly implausible (despite its “based-on-true-events” cue card beginning), and budget limitations keep most of the action within rather drab settings (the aforementioned home, motel rooms, police vehicles), but it’s got more going on inside its head than standard thriller fodder.
Murder Eleven marks a stronger-than-average feature debut from Klock, who proves he knows his way behind a pen and a lens.
by Rob Rector