11-11-11: The Prophecy Netflix Streaming DVD
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, Wendy Glenn
Big Air Studios
Originally Released: November 11, 2011
Since I was 23, the time stamp of “4:44” keeps coming up and recurring in my life. I have no idea whether this has any relevance or not, but it’s something I’ve noticed frequently, and as a result I often get attracted to stories surrounding the concept of meanings behind significant numerological synchronicities. 11-11-11: The Prophecy is one such film, and surveys this concept in greater detail than many other stories have.
Written and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, best known for his contributions to the Saw series, 11-11-11 (not to be confused with the ‘mockbuster’ with the rip-off name of 11/11/11 — the movie with the correct title uses dashes instead of slashes) explores in elaborate depth the nature of synchronicity, numerology, and its relation to imagery and prophecy. The concept lends itself very strongly to the horror genre, and comes across brilliantly.
Appropriating strong influences from the likes of The Omen, The Exorcist, End Of Days, Poltergeist, and countless Stephen King novels; 11-11-11 follows an era of grief engulfing author Joseph Crone (Timothy Gibbs). After his wife and child are immolated in a fire, events and tragedies continue to occur in Crone’s life happening at the time of 11:11. After receiving word that his father in Spain is dying, Crone heads to Barcelona to spend time with his disabled brother, Samuel Crone (Michael Landes), who is also a preacher.
Finding the time a precise opportunity to heal old wounds and seek reconciliation, Joseph begins to confide in his brother on the strange events happening to him on the times of 11:11 and the dates of 11/11. The two begin to see a pattern occur as ghostly phenomena begins to arise and threaten their lives, while Joseph begins to suffer from haunting hallucinations that spark an evolution in his self-questioning of doubt and faith.
As the pieces begin coming together, the two brothers and those who surround them fall into a tornadic journey of prophetic doom, that could possibly mean rapture, apocalypse, doomsday, or some other noun that expresses devastating end times.
Symbolism is used frequently throughout 11-11-11, not only to underscore the themes of numerology, prophecy, and synchronicity, but also to represent elements of life and choice, faith and disbelief, fate and destiny. There is a lot of depth in the scriptwriting and imagery of 11-11-11, one prominent example being the labyrinth, but each inclusion is an additional anchor to sink the viewer deeper into the subtexts of the story. Additionally, there are frequent relations made to organic tree roots, mostly in a graphical manner, strongly tying into the elements focusing upon the concepts of “faith versus doubt.”
Dichotomy is, correspondingly, a strong theme running throughout the movie. Aside from the obvious God vs. Devil iconography throughout, the key relationship between Joseph Crone (doubter) and his brother (believer) is perhaps the strongest representation of this dichotomy. There is also the race-against-time factor, which also amplifies this.
Regardless of the symbolism, 11-11-11 is not just a horror flick dabbling in the occultist feel of prophecy. At the core of the film is a specific assertion related to organized religion. There is a lot of strength at the core of this implication, though I fear a lot of folks will overlook the significance of it. It’s difficult to discuss in a review setting without spoiling the movie, so let’s just say that there is a strong core message that doesn’t truly demonstrate itself until things come together.
Having said all that, these factors (along with the symbolism) are an astonishing credit to Bousman’s accomplishments with 11-11-11. Many folks with overlook this title, simply because of the date associated with the film, and also due to the fact that while prophetic doom films have been done before; Darren Lynn Bousman has contributed something new to the table. But 11-11-11 strikes with much strength in the writing department, combining some unexpected shifts that occur throughout viewing, leading to several moments (including the conclusion) that lead to a substantially satisfying viewing experience. While we should have expected it, Bousman also sprinkles in some solid writing tricks he learned from the Saw franchise, but it works exceptionally well; perhaps even more so in 11-11-11.
What surprises me the most about this film are the mediocre reviews surrounding it. I found 11-11-11 to be quite a strong film that delivers some new elements to the horror genre, but also serves as a nice “love letter” in tribute to some of the previous greats that Bousman has been influenced by. As a horror fan, 11-11-11 is a hell of a lot of fun; and while the supporting cast’s performances could have been better, the two lead roles put on a spectacular showing for this movie.
Lead actor Timothy Gibbs provides a physical ambiance that reminds me of some of the charismatic moments from classic action films featuring Mel Gibson, or Harrison Ford, or even George Clooney. He falls into his character so easily, that I am surprised we haven’t seen more of this actor. Gibbs needs some more work in action, sci-fi, and horror I think – I believe that he has potential to become quite a fan favorite. In the confines of 11-11-11, he holds up very powerfully, though I feel he has a lot of acting chops that could be flexed in some other genres. While co-star Michael Landes also contributes a convincing performance, sadly the performance praise ends there – Gibbs and Landes offer the only impactful performances in 11-11-11.
The musical score by Joseph Bishara is unique in 11-11-11. It doesn’t succumb to the standard stereotypical horror fare, but rather becomes a convoluted meandering that adds tonality to scenes and sequences, as opposed to simply being used as a tool to amplify a scare. It brings a creepy atmosphere to the movie, but also is instrumental (pardon the pun) in setting the mood. Sometimes Omen-esque themes run high throughout, but the creepiness remains. The use of sheer volume is acted on effectively, particularly as the movie reaches its climax.
The horror elements of 11-11-11 are very strong. The creepy appearance of the ghostly monsters is nightmarish, and there are several “jump out of your chair” and “shit your pants” moments that seem to be rather absent from modern horror. Bousman includes these very well, and highly unexpected moments outside of the horror mold, but also very sparingly. There is zero “gore-factor” in 11-11-11, so the gore fans will be disappointed; but fans of films like The Omen will truly enjoy the ominous feelings throughout the entire movie.
Essentially, 11-11-11: The Prophecy is one of very few recent horror films I consider to be highly exceptional and brilliant examples of the genre in modern terms. These kinds of movies seem to have become rare over the years, but I highly recommend viewing it. Watch it late at night, with the lights out, and the volume loud. But do it soon, because it is most definitely worth viewing this one.