The Cellar (2022) poster

The Cellar (2022)


Ireland/Belgium. 2022.


Director/Screenplay – Brendan Muldowney, Producers – Connor Barry, Richard Bolger & Benoit Roland, Photography – Tom Comerford, Music – Stephen McKeon, Visual Effects – Mikros Image (Supervisor – Alexandre Rouil), Makeup Design – Veronique Dubray, Production Design – Owen Power. Production Company – Fis Eirann (Screen Ireland)/Savage Productions/Hail Mary Pictures/Wrong Man/Epic Pictures Group/Wallimage (La Wallonie)/Voo and Be TV/BNP Paribas Film Fortis Film Finance/BCP Asset Management/The Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund-Wrap Fund.


Elisha Cuthbert (Keira Woods), Eoin Macken (Brian Woods), Abby Fritz (Allie Woods), Dylan Fitzmaurice Brady (Steven Woods), Tara Lee (Erica), Michael David McKernan (Michael), Andrew Bennett (Detective Brophy), Aaron Monaghan (Dr Fournet), Marie Mullen (Rose Featherstone)


American Keira Woods and her Irish husband Brian buy a large house that is going cheaply and move in along with their teenage daughter Allie and younger son Steven. On their first night there, Brian and Keira have to rush off to a meeting with clients and leave Allie in charge of Steven. The two children discover an old gramophone but after playing it, all the lights go out. Keira walks Allie though going down into the cellar to change the fuses by phone only for the call to go dead. When Keira and Brian return, no trace can be found of Allie. Determined to find what happened, Keira digs into the history of the house, curious about the arcane symbols above every doorway. She learns how the house used to be owned by mathematician John Featherstone who believed his calculations could open the doorways to other dimensions before he and his family mysteriously vanished.

The Cellar – not at all to be confused with the 1980s horror The Cellar (1989) – was the third film from Irish director Brendan Muldowney. Muldowney had previously made Love Eternal (2013), a film about isolation and necrophilia, and the historical film Pilgrimage (2017).

On one level, it seems at the outset as though The Cellar is going to be a standard Haunted House film – only for it to turn in stranger and far more unusual directions. I kept expecting the film to be something more like the abovementioned The Cellar or even Charles Band’s Cellar Dweller (1988) – a fairly ordinary work about an evil force or a monster lurking in the basement. Instead, Brendan Muldowney surprises in terms of building accumulating mood and atmosphere into a mystery that hints at the occult.

Elisha Cuthbert enters the cellar in The Cellar (2022)
Elisha Cuthbert enters the cellar

The Cellar has the distinction of possibly being the first horror film about mathematics – there are times you get a distinct vibe of something like Prince of Darkness (1987) or even the same sort of arena that Darren Aronofsky’s Pi (1998) dealt with. The final act becomes fascinating where the occult mystery opens up as Elisha Cuthbert appears to walk down the stairs into the afterlife – here I was getting a strong vibe of the entry into Hell at the end of Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (1981).

In the lead role is American actress Elisha Cuthbert, who gained her greatest fame as Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter in tv’s 24 (2001-10). It is a surprise remembering her as an ingénue back then and now seeing her after a few years absence where she is no longer the young model on the pages of Maxim and FHM and assorted Sexiest Girl in the World sobriquets and is at the age of forty and playing mom roles.

Trailer here

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