The People Under The Stairs (1991)
Written By: DMG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Wes Craven
Producer: Stuart M. Besser, Marianne Maddalena
Screenplay: Wes Craven
Date Released: November 1, 1991
Brandon Adams as Poindexter “Fool” Williams
Everett McGill as Eldon Robeson
Wendy Robie as Mrs. Robeson
A. J. Langer as Alice
Ving Rhames as Leroy
Bill Cobbs as Grandpa Booker
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
13 year old, Fool, lives in a low income neighborhood. When he finds out that he along with his family is getting evicted, he is given the proposition to rob the landlord’s house by his sisters boyfriend, Leroy. But when they finally break into the landlords home, they find out that there are more people that inhabit the house then the landlord and his family.
There are some scenes which show blood and severed limbs. But the most disturbing scenes do not necessarily show any blood. For example, there is one scene where Alice’s mother throw her into a boiling hot tub of water. In another strange scene, Alice’s father, the landlord is chasing around one of his prisoners in s Gimp outfit.
The Grave Review
This is Wes Craven’s 12th directed film. The People Under The Stairs (1991) begins as what could be a racially driven film. But takes the spin of a more suspenseful/thriller/horror type genre. The story is clear and straightforward. The plot may not be original but the story keeps the audience’s attention through anticipation.
The performances were also respectable. Early in the film, Ving Rhames plays a small part as the person who initially poses to Fool to rob the landlord’s home. The antagonists also performed well if their respective rolls.
On a personal note, there was so much child abuse in this film that was never made important in the film. The antagonists, Alice’s alleged parents, bear and torture her and have done so throughout her life. But, there’s so much going on in the film that this aspect is never fully discussed to conclusion. You also never find out what happens to Alice when all is said and done. This aspect alone could pose as its own movie.
If there was one negative about the film it is that scenes felt dragged on. Although the pace of the film was ok, there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary scenes in the film. The film was a little over 90 minutes and could have been cut down without affecting the vibe of the movie.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The People Under The Stairs three graves out of five graves.
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