I’ve always prided myself on the fact I don’t pay attention to outside reviews whenever I decide to watch a movie.  I’m glad I don’t, too…if I had let reviews sway me, I would have missed out on some GREAT films.  Today’s movie, CONDEMNED, is a perfect example.  After I watched the film, I went to IMDB and Amazon to check out what others thought.  Interestingly, opinion is pretty split.  But for me, I really enjoyed it.  Granted, it’s a scenario we’ve seen before, but the execution of the film is pretty tight, and there’s plenty of carnage for gore-hounds.  If you’re looking for a grosstastic good time, then check out this film for sure.

If you are not familiar with CONDEMNED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of RLJ Entertainment:

Fed up with her parents’ bickering, poor-little-rich-girl Maya (Dylan Penn) moves in with her boyfriend, who is squatting in an old condemned building on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. With neighbors that are meth heads, junkies and degenerates, this depraved hell hole is even more toxic than it appears: After a virus born from their combined noxious waste and garbage infects the building’s residents, one by one, they succumb to a terrifying pathogen that turns them into bloodthirsty, rampaging killers and transforms their building into a savage slaughterhouse.

As I mentioned, we’ve seen this situation in other films before, such as REC and QUARANTINE.  But I’ve always said, if a filmmaker or author can make an existing premise entertaining, then I’ll gladly give it a look.  Such is the case here.  While not perfect, this movie is entertaining and good, gory fun.

CONDEMNED is shot fairly well and looks pretty decent onscreen.  My sole complaint about the cinematography is that some of the shots are too dark.  I would have preferred some moody, atmospheric lighting in these scenes, but instead we get darkness, and therefore the intensity lightens because we cannot see what is happening.  

The acting is so-so, with a mish-mash cast of decent and ‘meh’ actors.  I understand this is the film debut of Sean Penn’s niece, Dylan Penn, and she does a decent enough job.  The rest of the characters are portrayed in an over-the-top fashion, and I can’t decide if this was done to be comedic or intentional.  Either way, some of the performances are pretty good, while others just get annoying.

The special effects in CONDEMNED are exaggerated and outrageous, and they are a big part of what makes the movie so much fun.  While watching some of the vomit-inducing splatter, I was reminded of such film classics as Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE and Ruggero Deodato’s infamous CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST.  

CONDEMNED doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but it’s still a fun film to watch, and I recommend it.  Chocked full of gore, colorful characters, and crazy situations, this is a film you won’t soon forget.  The film hits store shelves tomorrow, so take a look.