Nine Miles Down (2009)
“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…”
Director: Anthony Waller
Cast: Adrian Paul, Amanda Douge, Anthony Waller
Synopsis: A security expert is sent to a remote scientific camp to investigate strange things that are happening.
If a lifetime of watching movies has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t go exploring places where you’re not supposed to go, whether it’s locked rooms, subterranean caves or wintry forests. Just don’t go there, because you know it won’t end well…
Thomas ‘Jack’ Jackman (Adrian Paul) is sent to a remote research camp in the Sahara desert after all contact with the scientists working there is abruptly broken. The site is an old abandoned drilling station which the boffins were using to drill deeper into the earth’s core than anyone ever has before. It sounds like one of those ‘because we can’ experiments rather than possessing any scientific value — but, then, that’s scientists for you. They spend years at university so that, after ten years of research, they can reveal that we drink beer because we like the taste. Leave them in the desert, I say…
Anyway, the scene that greets Jack is one of carnage. Furniture overturned, foreign graffiti scrawled on the walls, a disembowelled jackal with a look of shock frozen on its face, and nobody to be found. Then, as he’s radioing in his report a stunning blonde in a skimpy orange outfit comes jogging out of the desert. As they do.
She introduces herself as Jennie Christiansen (Kate Naula), one of the research team, but proves strangely evasive when Jack tries to question her. Obligatory nude scenes of Jennie in the shower quickly follow, and we immediately know that, at some point in this mercifully brief flick, Jack and Jennie are going to get it on.
Jack’s instructed to remain at the site in case any other members of the team return while the police search for them elsewhere. Jack suspects Jennie might be responsible for the deaths of two men, whose bodies she has stored in the walk-in freezer, but this cuts no ice with the law, which means Jack has little option but to hang around the camp and engage in desultory conversation with his suspect. It’s an intriguing exchange for them, full of philosophical discussions about love and music, which leads inevitably to that bedroom tussle, but it’s interminably boring to those of us who have to sit and watch.
There’s a reasonable idea for a horror movie in Nine Miles Down. Apparently Val Kilmer and John Carpenter were both attached to the project at one time or another. And while that admittedly doesn’t provide much of a guarantee of quality these days, it at least suggests that there was more to it on paper than there is on the screen. There’s little that director Anthony Waller can do with the material, and even if there was he doesn’t seem to possess the necessary tools to make much of a transformation. There are a few visual flourishes, some half-clever ideas that are never followed up, and a twist ending which makes everything that’s gone before largely redundant