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Hell's Gate 11:11 (2004)

Hell's Gate 11:11 (2004)

Writers: Michael Bafaro
Director: Michael Bafaro
Tagline: Evil has a new number


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Full Review

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Hell's Gate 11:11 starts with young Sara's parents being killed on Jan 11th. She survives, with the help of her (possibly imaginary) friend Raden. Fast forward some years and the young adult Sara (Laura Mennell) is understandably still troubled - depressed, on medication and attending a class on the paranormal. Strange and unpleasant things happen to people who upset Sara and the number '11:11' starts to appear all over the place. Raden (Christie Will) returns to look after her and Sara herself starts seeing visions of her dead mother.

11:11 is a strange film. It's very atmospheric and there's a lot going on but it's not exactly clear what the story actually is. There are suggestions of (deep breath): ghosts, ESP, alien abduction, guardian angels, spirit possession, apocalyptic prophecies... and probably more that I've missed.

If Michael Bafaro was trying to capture Sara's confusion then he did a good job of it - perhaps too good a job. It's like a jigsaw where all the pieces are squares of primary colour; there are lots of ways of putting them together, but frustrating without a box picture. Ultimately the pieces do come together to make a picture which is interesting but incomplete, you'll need to fill in some of the gaps yourself and work out what you think it all means.

I could easily have given up on this film early, I'm glad I didn't. What kept me watching was Laura Mennell's performance. She does a superb job as the troubled and vulnerable Sara and reminded me a little of Sissy Spacek in Carrie. Unlike many such heroines, Sara is also intelligent and resourceful. Mennell is ably backed up by Christie Will who provides good support as the creepy and over-protective Raden.

Overall Hell's Gate 11:11 is hard work at the beginning but worth persevering with. Just don't expect to have everything explained at the end.

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