Technical aspects: B
Particular triggers: domestic violence
Passes the Bechdel test? yes, but barely
100 Feet is the story of a woman named Marnie Watson (Famke Janssen), who is placed under house arrest after being found guilty of the murder of her husband, Mike (Michael Pare). Mike was abusive, and the murder was in self-defense; Marnie had reported him several times to the police, but as Mike himself was a cop, little was done and the investigations were generally dropped. Complicating things, the cop in charge of Marnie, named Shanks (Bobby Cannavale), was Mike’s partner.
“100 Feet” refers to the distance that Marnie is allowed to travel – any farther, and the anklet she wears will send a signal to the police, and she’ll be sent back to prison.
It quickly becomes clear that Mike’s ghost is haunting the house, and he continues to attack her. Unwilling to leave or be sent back to prison, Marnie attempts exorcisms, attempts to force Mike’s spirit out of the house by getting rid of his possessions, etc. but nothing works. Some of the assaults against her are investigated by Shanks, who is beginning to believe that someone else is beating Marnie, and that this other person may be the one actually responsible for killing Mike.
It’s hard to say much else without being too spoiler-heavy.
I actually really like this movie. I find Marnie’s character interesting and sympathetic, not quite the same as the average female horror movie protagonist. She seems genuinely conflicted, not feeling guilty for killing her husband because of the circumstances, but regretting that it happened. She’s imperfect, but her actions are consistent with her character.
The small cast helps the film feel very self-contained, and emphasizes the feeling of isolation that Marnie experiences in the house.
I enjoy the premise of being literally trapped in a house with something malevolent, and by something more than a broken-down car or a silly dare. (And yes, I remember that Disturbia also used the “house arrest” premise, but I like its use in this movie far more, and that’s about the only way the films are at all comparable.) Also in the category of at least kind of subverting common tropes, while she does refuse to seek outside help, this also makes sense for her character. After her experiences, of course she’s not going to ask Shanks or any other cops for help.
The biggest detractor in my opinion is the ending, which is tied together a little too neatly and rapidly. The ultimate way they get rid of Mike’s ghost works, I suppose, but seems like something that would have occurred to her earlier. The effects are also a bit hit-or-miss. They aren’t the most ridiculous, but a few times the ghost modeling is quite fake looking (when he’s heavily active) and one scene in particular has pretty laughable blood effects.
Occasionally this one runs on Syfy, and I’d certainly recommend the watch if it does come up. It’s also had a DVD release, and it’s one that I enjoyed enough that I’m considering purchasing it.