I have to go spoiler-filled in my review of this latest Netflix Original horror film because there is too much to unwrap with this movie’s final act.
I had known that this movie was on Netflix but I was not planning on viewing it until my friend showed me the trailer for it yesterday. You have to credit to the marketers on this trailer because it sells a different narrative than what we are given and a scarier premise than what the movie actually is.
Eli is about a young boy who is struck with this super rare and debilitating disease where he suffers allergic reactions from any element on Earth. Air, water or dirt, Eli cannot be around any of it. He has to wear this protective gear that keeps his skin from coming into contact with any of these elements.
Eli’s parents seek asylum and treatment for him at this secluded facility run by Dr. Isabella Horn, who guarantees that she can cure Eli’s disease. The environment of the building allows Eli to walk around freely without having to wear the suit and as all horror movies go, not is all perfect as it may seem.
As the nights go by and Eli goes through these treatments, he begins to experience paranormal activity that makes him seem delusional because of the medication he is given. He loses trust in Dr. Horn and soon finds out that she has purposefully killed patients in the past but for reasons, we do not know until the final act.
Before I discuss the final act, let me lay out the positives of this movie.
The acting is superb. Kelly Reilly and Max Martini are stellar in portraying a family that is falling apart mentally because of their son’s struggles. Charlie Shotwell delivers a very convincing and heartbreaking performance as he deals with this disease that takes any normality away from his life and Lili Taylor is just as awesome as she was in The Conjuring.
I did enjoy the setting as well. Haunted house movies are a lot of fun when done correctly and the direction sets up some of these scares, early on, quite well. The eeriness is set up a lot better than the average, conventional horror film.
Now to the final act.
We discover that Eli is actually not sick at all. He is a spawn of the devil….
His parents, mostly his father, have sent him to this facility to have him killed but his soul purified through an exorcism. The doctors are a part of this religious cult where they do murder these children who are devils. In my eye, this is where I lose respect for this film.
From a movie aspect, I get that surprising twists are good to subvert audiences’ expectations but when it involves the depiction of a certain aspect of numerous people’s lives, that is when it could become a problem.
From a personal standpoint, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth because the ending is pretty much the devil defeating religion. Now, we can discuss the ethics of how these kids are getting killed but that is a moot point because this is just a movie. I am a proponent of not taking movies literally because they are meant to entertain us. However, this movie blurred the lines of entertainment and attacking one’s faith. It was not done in a clever way. It was as on-the-nose antireligious as you can get in a movie and I cannot support it in any way, shape, or form.
If you are not religious, that is just fine but you have to respect those that do use faith as an aspect of their life. I know my religion has aspects to it that are not perfect but you cannot umbrella all of us into the same area. I know the movie’s intentions are not in line with how I interpreted this movie but I know what I watched and I have to call it out. I will never allow parts of my life to be insulted unless it is truly warranted.
19 movies down. 12 to go.