Enclosure full movie review - Simple Premise, Creepy Atmosphere, Fine Acting = Fun Horror
Just saw this at the theater. Went in with pretty low expectations, as I hadn't heard any buzz about this film (so many other promising horror films coming soon - Get Out, A Cure for Wellness, The Belko Experiment, a remake (or re-adaptation) of It, etc.
There were only two other (fairly negative) reviews on IMDb, and I read a couple of other reviews (Dread Central and Kim Newman) that were lukewarm about it. The poster art makes the movie look generic and cheap. The premise sounds pretty simple and unoriginal - a couple stranded in the woods, facing some unknown menace. But I'm glad I gave it a chance. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It's not a "great" film, overly cerebral, emotional, gory, or overly anything. However, there were no moments that particularly bothered me, and all the elements - atmosphere, music, acting, tension - work pretty well together.
Dana (Fiona Dourif) and Charles (Kevin Ryan) play a married couple who love each other but have some tensions, such as Charles about to embark on a three-month tour with his band. To celebrate their two-year anniversary and spend some time together before Charles hits the road, they decide to go camping. They soon find disagreements flaring - and to make matters worse, a group of drunk hunters parties and fires off guns at night nearby. But the hunters aren't their only worry, as a mysterious creature quickly dispatches with most of them, leaving only one, Sean (Jake Busey), alive. They rescue him, holing up together in their tent, only to find that Sean might be just as much, if not a greater, threat than the monster outside the tent.
The addition of Sean is a brilliant move, as I'm not sure if this would have been as enjoyable without his character, or without Busey's effectively creepy performance. This has the internal-tension-while-under-siege-by-external-threat trope that is pretty common for horror movies (and is there a shorthand name for this? if not, there should be). Everything from Night of the Living Dead to last year's The Monster and Blair Witch relies on it, and I'm a sucker for it. There's not much of a unique take on it here, but it uses those conventions competently. Most good horror is pretty simple in premise; once you get too complicated, you run the risk of ruining the mood. This film knows what it is - a monster-romp-in-the-woods movie - and doesn't try to pretend to be anything more.
I'm not sure what to think about the "monster" here, either in its nature or in its visual design. It is strange, not especially scary-looking, and it's hard not to say more without spoiling the film. There's not much explanation for it, although there is a supposed connection to a Native American story told by Sean's "crazy grandma Millie Ray," which sort of makes sense based on what happens, and sort of not.
In short, this film is fun if you can just sit back and not think about it too much. It's also a plus if you like the woods as a setting and the above-mentioned siege-type narrative. 7/10 (maybe generous, but for what this film is trying to be, it deserves it).