by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Lockout is kind of an odd little movie. It's a low budget horror film with a lot of things going on that don't seem to have much to do with one another until the very end of the film. After a short preliminary scene, the film kicks off with an ordinary white collar man named Dan being dismissed from his firm after a decade of faithful service because the business has changed and he's not willing to adapt. The company needs multilingual personnel, or Americans willing to relocate overseas to help teach English in their remote customer service facilities. Dan speaks only English, and has no intention of leaving the country, so he finds himself unemployed. He and his family own a nice home in Chicago and an older place in East Nowhere, Wisconsin. Since the Wisconsin house is not rentable, Dan decides to rent his good Illinois property and move with his wife and sister-in-law to rural Wisconsin, thus allowing them to survive without his lost income.

That part of the film is all pretty straightforward, with no real horror elements, although Dan's sister-in-law seems to be a junkie with a secret career as a professional dominatrix, and her episodes provide a sinister undercurrent to an otherwise routine suburban existence in the Chicago area.

Once the three of them arrive in Wisconsin, however, things get strange fast. Lockout turns into an old school horror film. There are no jokey sidekicks, comic relief, or CGI, but plenty of gore, sex and gravitas. Dan and his sister-in-law seem to find themselves in the middle of some creepy goings-on involving cannibalism, torture, inbred mutants, bodies behind walls, mind control, immortals, mysterious spiders, otherworldly hitchhikers, and God knows what else, all of which has a surrealistic, "WTF?" quality to it, which makes the movie mysterious, but also confusing and irritating at times.

As it turns out, there is a reasonable, if ambiguous and opaque, explanation for what Dan and his family are going through, but the clarification doesn't come out until a series of epilogues which resolve matters by removing all the veils, in the manner of Angel Heart. The events of the last ten minutes are over the top, but interesting and fairly unexpected. Before that there are only sporadic pleasures. The film really seems to wander afield from time to time, and I found my interest level waxing and waning dramatically. I'd drift off during some over-long element of seemingly unimportant exposition, then I'd jump back at full attention during some very scary or creepy individual moments. Although Lockout was made with a micro budget and employs some actors whose delivery is so stiff as to break the fourth wall, it does have a reasonably intriguing air of mystery about it, and a creepy ambiance driven by effective background music. I'll also grant it a few extra points for originality. Many low budget straight-to-DVD films are just lesser versions of more famous previous films, but this film is fresh. It has some elements which you've seen before, but it also has its own unique presence, for better or worse. Given the limitations of the cast and budget, I'd say the director got some pretty good mileage out of some low octane fuel.

I can see why the IMDb score is low because the entire project gives off kind of an amateurish home-movie vibe, but it's not a bad flick. It drags in spots, but it gives off a sense that there is an excellent film, in the manner of Angel Heart, lurking somewhere inside, like a tapeworm. If only there had been enough money to lure it out.


*full screen






No major reviews online.


4.1 IMDB summary (of 10)


Straight to DVD



The clearest nudity is provided by Claire Davenport, with a very brief exposure of her small breasts

There is also a scene where Davenport masturbates (no nudity from her), while her older sister (Cyn Dulay) gets it on noisily in the next room and flashes quick looks at breasts and buns.


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Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: