A family discovers something very terrifying in the latest film from Brendan Muldowney.
The Woods family have moved in an ancestral home in Ireland with Keira and Brian are on an assignment working for a marketing firm. While their son Steven is thrilled with the new home, the same can’t be said for teenage daughter Ellie, who sees the house as dingy and ugly. However, when Ellie is forced to watch Steven as Keira and Brian go to work, the lights go out in the house. Soon enough, as Ellie goes to the cellar to look for the breaker, she disappears with nowhere to be found.
When Keira and Brian discover that Ellie is missing, they are completely distraught. At first, they thought possibly she ran away or was kidnapped. However, Keira soon learns that when Ellie had never returned from the cellar of the house, she seeks for answers. With the help of a local scientist, Keira has discovered that the cellar may be the door to Pandora’s Box. While Brian is reluctant to believe the truth, Keira will do what it takes to once and for all, save her daughter, even if it means entering the cellar herself.
For writer-director Brendan Muldowney, his 2004 short film The Ten Steps was a hit in the film festival circuit. While that film ended abruptly, people had wondered what would happen next. This would inspire Muldowney to make a feature length version of the short film. This film sees the cellar of an ancestral Irish home as a Pandora’s box that is described by holding many evils and other things including the Knights Templar, 12th Century alchemists, biblical sea monsters, and more and how one woman finds herself faced with the evils to rescue her daughter.
Elisha Cuthbert gives a very inspired and excellent performance as Keira, the young mother who is determined to find answers in regard to her daughter’s sudden disappearance. Eoin Macken does a great job at playing both sides of the spectrum as Brian, Keira’s husband, who is both concerned but at times convinced that their daughter may not actually be able to come back. Kudos must go out to Dylan Fitzsimmons Brady as son Steven, who at times has the evils from the cellar compel him and even gives off a bit of a possessed vibe.
If there is a flaw in the film at all, it comes in the form of filler involving Keira and Brian’s work. Set in a marketing firm, these scenes are nothing more than filler. Despite the connection coming in the form of phone calls involving the situation of the film, it just seems out of place when compared to the crux of the film, the ancestral home and its cellar.
The Cellar is mostly a great psychological horror film that is driven by an inspired performance by Elisha Cuthbert and despite the filler scenes not really making an impact, Brendan Muldowney did a great job at expanding his 2004 short film and brings up some mind-bending chaos.
WFG RATING: B
RLJE Films and Shudder presents an Epic Pictures production in association with Hail Mary Pictures, Savage Productions, and Wrong Men North. Director: Brendan Muldowney. Producers: Conor Barry, Richard Bolger, and Benoit Roland. Writer: Brendan Muldowney; based on his short film “The Ten Steps”. Cinematography: Tom Comerford. Editing: Mairead McIvor.
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken, Dylan Fitzsimmons Brady, Abby Fitz, Aaron Monaghan, Andrew Bennett, Tara Lee, Michael-David McKernan, Sean Doyle, Marie Mullen, Amy Conroy.
The film will be released in select theaters and streaming on Shudder on April 15, 2022.