“Eli” Review – A Floundering Flop of a Movie

Think about reading a series of books that show it has the potential to become a great series, but you end up getting bored and just read the last paragraph of the last book with no context as to what happened in the middle. You end up asking yourself, “What is this?”. Netflix’s “ELI” is that experience but with no possibility of getting an explanation. 

Eli (Charlie Shotwell) suffers from an auto-immune disorder which makes himself extremely vulnerable to the world to the point where he must always live in a sterile environment. The parents of Eli (Kelly Reilly and Max Martini) may have found a place where their child can be cured of this disorder. 

Capture from the film “Eli” – David Treto

A creepy, old mansion run by Dr. Horn (Lili Taylor) is where Eli and his parents will be staying as she conducts experimental treatment. Eli is convinced that something much worse is going on as he begins seeing ghosts and wonders why he isn’t feeling better from the treatments. The trust factor is shifted between everyone and the only thing that keeps Eli sane is a girl (Sadie Sink) on the other side of a big window.

“ELI” is a horror movie directed by Ciaran Foy, the same director as Citadel and Sinister 2. The film was produced by Paramount Pictures, MTV Films, Intrepid Pictures, and Bellevue Productions and was released on October 18, 2019, by Netflix.

The movie could’ve been an amazing product but a simple decision on how to end the film completely changed the mood. Characters of the movie are mediocre at best. Half of the characters show no emotion and only say and yell what they are told to. 

At some point, Eli himself becomes a stiff character who becomes someone he is not. Dr. Horn was really the only interesting character that was entertaining to watch. There are moments in the movie where Dr. Horn is standing out from the rest due to her acting. Simple facial expressions can easily be read from her whereas other characters leave the viewer looking confused at a screen. 

It was genuinely interesting to watch Eli receive treatment and develop questions and seeing a portrayal of a doctor who seems suspicious treating her patient so different was interesting, to say the least. 

Thumbnail from the film “Eli” – David Treto

Watching Eli having to witness some paranormal entity mess with him as he undergoes treatment in a strange house was vague at best. While the writing of the movie is not bad to a certain point, It feels as if two scripts were written and then mashed together in a hurry to finish production. 

It was a completely different movie towards the end, and perhaps not for the better. Overall, the movie could have been an amazing horror movie, having a chance to compete with movies like “The Conjuring”, but instead was a complete waste of time. 

“ELI” is a movie that makes you wonder where the story is going. What was the director trying to achieve in this movie? You expect to sit down and enjoy a movie but instead, you stare at a screen with your face scrunched up. Time would be better-spent re-watching “The Conjuring” than giving “ELI” a chance.