aka 11: 11 – Hell’s Gate; 11: 11 – The Gate
Director – Micheal Bafaro, Screenplay – Micheal Bafaro & Patrick Bermel, Story – Micheal Bafaro, Patrick Bermel & Evan Taylor, Producer – Evan Taylor, Photography – John Drake, Music – Peter Allen, Special Effects Supervisor – Tom Blacklock Jr., Production Design – Elizabeth Lee McKinnon & Nathalie Morin. Production Company – Evolution Pictures/Gate 1 Productions Inc
Laura Mennell (Sara Tobias), Paul Dzenkiw (Seth), Christie Will (Raden), Chris Harrison (Jake), Michael St. John Smith (Sheriff Ben), Cathy Weseluck (Professor Kosta), Amy Adamson (Dacia), Jane Sowerby (Aunt Lydia), Ingrid Libera (Young Sara), Kristina Copeland (Claire Tobias), Glen Ennis (Robert Tobias), Jennifer Bishop (Young Raden)
In 1992, young Sara Tobias is playing in the field when two escaped criminals arrive and murder her parents. As the men come for her, Sara screams for help whereupon her playmate Raden comes and kills the men. In the present, Sara is at university studying parapsychology. All of a sudden, people who have angered her begin to suffer mysterious deaths. At the same time, Raden comes back into her life, saying she wants to help. Sara sees ghostly figures. Joining forces with her tutor Seth, she begins to investigate these and comes to believe that the prophecy of 11: 11 that foretells the end of the world is coming true.
11: 11 was the fourth directorial film for the largely unknown Canadian director Micheal Bafaro (sometimes, as here, also credited as Michael Bafaro). After writing a few screenplays, Bafaro had made his directorial debut with the low-budget heist film For a Few Lousy Dollars (1998). Bafaro next broached genre material with the science-fiction film Sleeping Dogs (1998) and discovered the horror genre with The Barber (2002). He has remained there ever since, turning out the likes of Cranes (2006), The Cycle (2009), Rise of the Damned (2011), Embedded (2012), Wrecker (2015) and Amber’s Descent (2020).
It should be said that a casual glance through the IMDB comments and reviews for these films reveals that Micheal Bafaro’s name remains obscure for a good reason – none of his films have very good write-ups. 11: 11 – not to be confused with Darren Lynn Bousman’s 11-11-11 (2011), which also concerns itself with End of the World prophecies and cryptic happenings – is a dreary film. It is not an uninteresting film – at least in the sense that there seems to be much going on within it – but Bafaro’s direction is down around the level of earnest amateurism. He delivers a film that is singularly lacking in craft or style, where the happenings that take place on the screen manage to seem as dramatically flat and visually boring as it is possible to get.
The plot is a mishmash that seems to concern itself with numerological significances a la The Number 23 (2007); a muddled notion of the 2012 Mayan prophecies; heroine Laura Mennell manifesting psychic powers seemingly to kill those who have crossed her a la Carrie (1976); ghostly appearances of her mother and other hauntings surrounding her; ghost hunters (where we learn that ghosts apparently leave radioactive traces); the heroine’s mysterious friend (Christie Will) who may or may not be real, ghostly, all in the heroine’s imagination or responsible for what is happening; and prophecies about the coming End of the World.
The cast plod through the exercise – Christie Will’s attempts to seriously intone the ominous prophetic warnings she is given come out as just bad acting – but the script they are in is a hopeless mishmash of nonsense ideas that makes no sense.