My immediate reaction to the opening 20 minutes of this movie was admittedly a struggle as the performances were grinding and felt forced, painfully trying to shift out of first gear. In many ways it smacked of low-budget b grade execution and I had a moment of wondering if I were going to be able to endure the 80 minute running time.
The premise of Stay Out of the Attic follows two convicts Imani and Carlos, who are promised a second chance in life outside of prison walls when they work for fellow ex-con Alber Schillinger’s removal company. Each of them have their own demons to exorcise and on their first job get more than they bargained for and are forced to confront their past haunts and misconceptions, which is also incredibly two-dimensional in its delivery.
Filled with hopes over turning a new leaf, the intrepid trio venture into the house where they are greeted by Vern Mueller, an elderly man with a sickening past. Basically he’s a psychologically deranged Nazi medical practioner carrying out fucked up experiments. We later learn that he is practicing the works of Josef Mengele and has been torturing people in both the attic and basement of his house in a crazed search for a rejuvenation serum.
Mueller manages to trap the trio in his mansion where he then inflicts pain, torture and carnage in order to act out his malicious will. Admittedly this is where Director Jerren Lauder manages to step away from the realm of predictability and serves some delightfully macabre moments. By the time he plays this hand though, the film has already slipped into mediocrity.
Stay Out of the Attic is both painful to watch in its failure to deliver anything masterful and gut-wrenching in the manner that it inflicts salacious ways for the main characters to endure.
Most of the time, it’s incredibly slow and meticulous but there are some glimmers of inspiration that stop this film from being a disaster and hangs on the right side of watchability.
- Saul Muerte