Do You Like My Basement?, from director Roger Sewhcomar, available this week on DVD from Virgil Films, is a low budget independent horror film about a filmmaker creating horror through reality under the guise that it is a reality style horror film. Imagine showing up for a horror film audition and finding out that the horror isn’t fake at all.
Stanley Farmer (Charlie Floyd) is an unorthodox filmmaker. He has broken into the home of an unsuspecting couple and murdered them, all while videotaping the whole thing. Now, Stanley will use their home to interview young rookie actors for his film, entitled Do You Like My Basement?
With hidden cameras all over the house, Stanley has set up an elaborate reality style horror film where he is filming a movie within a movie. These actors believe they are auditioning for a film when really, they ARE the film.
The film within the film consists of a group of people who separately see an ad inviting people to spend the night in a man’s basement and, if they survive, they get $1000. Think House on Haunted Hill without the ghosts and more murder.
The trick is that most people don’t leave the auditions, making their deaths the actual film.
The film is uncomfortable at parts when the acting is realistic. It is only when you catch the occasional bad actor that you remember that this is just a movie and not something actually filmed by a psychopath. There is a scene with an Asian mother and daughter that was particularly uncomfortable for me.
I got a small sense of Peeping Tom in Stanley Farmer. You never fully see Stanley’s adult face, only a Hitler mask that he dons when he puts himself on film in his full insanity, which is fitting as Hitler’s actions during WWII were the purest definition of horror-something Stanley wanted to achieve with his film.
Based on the name of the film alone, I never would have picked this up in the store. Do You Like My Basement? sounds like a horrible attempt at horror like Fear Dot Com or Smiley when, in actuality, Do You Like My Basement? is the horrible horror film inside a good one.
Unfortunately, I feel like this film will be passed over because of the name, as I would have done, but my hope is that enough people will give it a try and spread the word because Do You Like My Basement? proves that independent films can supply decent horror without the high budget of Hollywood. The quality is in the story, not the money used to make it.