Grimmfest Easter – The Cellar

Written by Naomi Roper

After her daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their sinister new house, Keira Woods (Elisa Cuthbert) becomes obsessed with uncovering the house’s dark secrets. She soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family’s souls forever.

Tik Tok star Evan Williams has a hilarious series of videos about the sheer wonder that is horror movie husbands. The Cellar is a 90-minute version of that trope writ large. Except here both parents are equally as clueless as to the extreme danger they have put themselves and their family in. How silly is this family? Let me count the ways.

Firstly they buy a huge mysterious house in the Irish countryside without googling it. I won’t stay at a hotel for the night without obsessively reading 3 years’ worth of Tripadvisor reviews but sure why not buy a creepy old house in the middle of nowhere without doing any sort of due diligence whatsoever. Then having moved in they leave their children completely alone in said creepy house on the very first night. Brian (Eoin Macken giving peak horror movie dad) explains at one point that they moved there as it was a great opportunity for their family but clearly, his enthusiasm didn’t extend to actually sticking around to make sure that his grumpy wannabe anarchist daughter and small son are comfortable and happy on their first night in a strange house. When Ellie (Abby Fitz) goes missing (in the most unsettling sequence in the whole movie) while her terrified mother listens in Brian is all “oh hey she probably ran off. It’ll be fine.”

Your daughter is missing Brian. Your wife heard her vanish. Why so chill dude? Why are you not worried about the weird symbols all over the house you just bought? What about the mysterious recording that turns itself on by itself? Why after one child has vanished without a trace are you completely relaxed about your son being left to his own devices? Why did you not bat an eyelid at the weird noises emanating from your closets? Why are you gaslighting your poor wife when she’s out there trying to save your daughter? WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS BRIAN?

So yes the Woods family have the survival skills of a suicidal lemming and the movie is slightly silly as a result but I found myself deeply charmed by the whole affair. Written and directed by Brendan Muldowney and based on his short The Ten Steps , The Cellar is a fun horror flick. It looks great and the acting is top-notch. It was especially lovely to see Elisha Cuthbert as the lead and she acquits herself admirably. Less scream queen more Nancy Drew her character is the heart of the movie doggedly trying to find out what happened to her daughter.

The decision to link the supernatural to the scientific by use of mathematical equations and sacred geometry is fascinating. The last few minutes where Keira sets off on a desperate quest to save her daughter are cheerfully unsettling ending on a bravely downbeat note.

The Cellar is an entertaining movie about the dangers of blind buying residential property. Sure you might find yourself slightly rooting for the mysterious entity at times but you’ll have a grand time doing it. 

The Cellar is screening at Grimmfest Easter and will be on the streaming platform Shudder exclusively from 15th April 2022.