I know it is hard to believe with a title like this and the fact that it involves a guy chained up in a basement, but this Dustin Cook (first feature film) film is a romantic comedy. Rather on the dark side I would say though still romantic. To top it off, it is a good one, to boot.
They say that looks can be deceiving and that certainly is the case with Claude (Chris Marquette – The Girl Next Door, Race to Witch Mountain). At work he is a rather button down, no nonsense kind of guy as opposed to his colleage and friend, Riley (Jeffrey Doornbos – appeared in episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Arrested Development), who is just basically a big pig. Claude is still grieving the murder of his wife, so it is understandable that he is reticent.
When he gets home, however, it is completely different. What makes it different is that he has a young man chained up in his basement. We learn that his name is Logan (Manny Montano – from television’s Good Girls) and he is one responsible for the death of Claude’s wife. Claude is exacting his own type of justice on him. Though we are not exactly sure what his end game is as he keeps feeding him, so this could go on forever.
Riley finally does convince Claude to go on a blind double date to a dance studio. They are going to do couples’ salsa lessons. Though Claude does not click with the woman he has been paired up with, he does find the dance instructor Kyra (Nora-Jane Noone – Brooklyn, The Magdalene Sisters) attractive.
After some initial awkwardness, mostly on Claude’s part, the two do start dating. This brings Claude out of his shell, but he also feels very guilty about it as he feels it is a betrayal to his departed wife. Strangely enough it leads to him having an almost relationship with Logan, as odd as this sounds. The two begin to bond over literature and life discussions. But eventually you know that having a man in his basement is in some way or another going to mess things up.
To pull off a story like this you need decent acting and clever writing. I Hate the Man in My Basement boasts both. Though there are instances of hammy acting by the supporting cast, the two leads have good chemistry and realistically portray their characters.
With its rather dark side there are plenty of moral issues at play here. What would you do if you found the person who killed your spouse before the authorities? Are you confident enough to say you would not attempt to exact revenge? Grief can make a person do things they would not normally. Claude’s demure average guy becomes someone who can electro shock and beat another human repetitively then go in to work and be his usual self.
It is well done in that it keeps you wondering what is going to happen next. Will Kyra discover what is in the basement? Will Claude kill Logan or let him go? Will the police eventually discover what has happened to Logan? As I said, for a romance it does keep you hanging on with the intrigue.