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rochefort [Celluloid 10.03.12] United Kingdom horror

The residents of Tower Block 31 have seen a lot of awful things on the premises including a recent beating that left a young man dead (and that none of them made any real effort to stop). But one morning, just a few days before they're all scheduled to move out so the building can be demolished, a sniper from a nearby tower starts picking them off one by one. This sniper has a state-of-the-art rifle and scope, and has rigged the stairwells and elevators with traps that keep any of the tenants from leaving. Becky (Sheridan Smith) decides to take the lead with the group and find an escape route, but they soon find that the sniper is always two steps ahead, and their numbers dwindle rapidly and violently.

Probably one of my biggest personal disappointments of the fest, "Tower Block" suffers from what I've started calling "trap horror syndrome", that increasingly prevalent cinema trope where the villain has almost Godlike abilities to cover every angle.

This is fine when the Joker does it in a Batman movie, I guess, but those "Saw" movies sure got old quick and the gimmicks in "Tower Block" become fatiguing and convoluted almost immediately.

This is one of those high-concept movies that we've been seeing more of lately, one in which the cast is surprisingly game to deliver good work and sell every shock and shed tear, but the filmmakers themselves are playing with too many overwrought toys to concentrate on telling a story we haven't already memorized. The actors deserved a lot better than this.

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