(US - 2019)
Directed by Ciaran Foy. Written by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing. Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Kelly Reilly, Lili Taylor, Max Martini, Sadie Sink, Deneen Tyler, Katia Gomez. (Unrated, 98 mins)
Originally set to be released in theaters back in January 2019, ELI was given the CLOVERFIELD PARADOX dumpjob treatment by Paramount, who abruptly yanked it from the release schedule and sold it to Netflix. That precedent serves as a red flag for this rampantly idiotic horror film that Paramount actually admitted they had no idea how to market (or, more likely, they knew they had a steaming turd on their hands that wasn't even worthy of some early January garbage time at the multiplex). It feels like several half-baked ideas crammed into one screenplay under the guise of "reveals" and "twists," but never establishing any consistency and often rendering past events nonsensical. But ELI is the kind of movie that doesn't want you to ask any questions or think too hard about it, lest you see how sloppily assembled and thoughtlessly executed it ends up being. It's too bad, because Irish director Ciaran Foy brought some style to both his promising 2012 debut CITADEL and 2015's intermittently interesting SINISTER 2, and two of the three credited writers (Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing) scripted 2016's terrifying THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, but whatever promise ELI might have in the early going is torpedoed at an alarming speed before completely collapsing in on itself in the home stretch.