Noob Reviews: Eli
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Eli?
Eli is a horror film that follows the treatment of the Miller’s son Eli. Suffering from a rare autoimmune disease that makes everything outside of his protective suit dangerous to him. Eli can experience extreme allergic reactions should he so much as breathe fresh air, something the rest of us take for granted. Luckily though a doctor by the name of Dr Horn, runs a secluded medical facility in a refurbished countryside manor that deals with experimental treatment for such a disease. Little does Eli or his parents know though, the house may be haunted by the previous children who have also undergone the exact same treatment.
What sort of horror genre is Eli?
If I had to sum up Eli into a specific genre, I would say it definitely has a strong supernatural horror vibe to it throughout. However, towards the end of the film. It certainly felt like The Omen once the story begins to unfold in full.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Official Trailer -
When did it come out?
The film was released on Netflix in October 2019.
What can you tell us about the plot?
As I mentioned above the central theme or core story if you will, is about trying to get Eli cured of his rare autoimmune disease. However, during his stay at the secluded facility where the treatment is taking place, Eli begins to have encounters with spirits and otherworldly entities that appear to be out to do him hard. It is tough to explain the plot without spoilers but let us say not is all that it seems, and soon Eli begins to receive visits for a girl (Haley) who he can only communicate through glass walls and windows as he is unable to go outside. Yet she begins to tell him a tale. A tale of the true nature of the facility. And what happened to the children that were treated before Eli. Oddly enough though she refuses to enter the manor, so how does she know so much?
Add into the mix his parents fractured relationship with persistent arguing and Eli’s very own father turning on him and his mother. And a secret religious order. And you have quite an exciting tale just waiting to be told.
I will mention that the emotional investment for the parents was quite a hard-hitting one as they have been spending their earnings and savings on trying to treat their son, so Dr Horn is literally their last chance at saving him. Even though both parents are heavily invested in curing Eli, it does turn out that both wish to cure him for their own reasons, the mother for love and the father for spoiler reasons.
Who are some of the actors and actresses in the film we might know?
Charlie Shotwell (Eli Miller)
Kelly Reilly (Eli's mother)
Lili Taylor (Dr Isabella Horn)
Max Martini (Eli's father)
Sadie Sink (Haley)
What did you think of Eli?
I thought the story behind Eli was quite an interesting one, a few subplots were running along with the main plot, and I love the Damien horror vibes that the film gave off midway through. It did, however, seem to do about an average job for a supernatural, with the occasional jumpscare and lots of freaky happenings going on. Such as handprints or breath appearing on cold window panes.
When it came to the acting, I thought the young gentleman (Charlie Shotwell) that played Eli did really well. Even in the face of adversity and disbelief, when telling those around him about the spirits he had seen. He soldiered on until he came to quite an intriguing discovery about himself and the true nature of his disease. On the flip side, some of the other actors were a bit lacklustre such as the facility aids, and although some jumpscares were unexpected, others were entirely predictable. I felt at times the pacing of the film also seemed to dip where we would begin to pick up on clues and then say an argument would happen and it would drag out for longer than needed. Somewhat killing the energy and enthusiasm, the film had just begun to ramp up. Although I won’t do spoilers, the ending has got to be one of my favourite parts of the film too, this has a substantial amount of build, pacing and explanation. It is just a shame it was not as balanced all the way through.
Overall a lovely little horror that is not hardcore scary but more a diet horror or horror light if you will, so may even appeal to non-horror fans just looking for a new suspense film to kill some time with.
What overall rating would you give Eli?
I would give Eli a solid 3 out of 5 bananas.
A fun little horror that is not the best nor the worst, it sits happily in the middle of the supernatural genre. Although the story is interesting, it’s pace and balance could have been better. Still worth a watch though in my opinion.
Thank you very much for checking out the review, and if you are interested in Eli and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion, you can check it out here.