Release Date: 13 November 2015 (USA)

Release: DVD VOD

MPAA Rating: R

Horror Sub-genre: Viral Outbreak

Synopsis: Fed up with her parents’ bickering, poor-little-rich-girl Maya (Dylan Penn) moves in with her boyfriend who is squatting in an old, condemned building on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. With neighbors that are meth heads, junkies and degenerates, this depraved hell hole is even more toxic than it appears: After a virus born from their combined noxious waste and garbage infects the building’s residents, one by one, they succumb to a terrifying pathogen that turns them into bloodthirsty, rampaging killers and transforms their building into a savage slaughterhouse

“Condemned” Film Analysis

“Condemned” is the type of gore filled horror movie that is enjoyable for its simplicity yet regurgitated premise. The concept to the film is nothing new and is probably seen many times over. However, for a low budget entry, “Condemned” merits noteworthy inclusion to the horror genre. Basically, the plot centers  on a tenants locked in a building, a result of some viral outbreak. The dwellers must survive against one another, an opposing entity, or both. The film offers what its predecessors in this sub-genre doesn’t, and that’s; gritty visuals, outrageous (at time outlandish) scenes of violence and a rag tag cast of society’s outcasts.

Written and directed by Eli Morgan Gesner, the film, “Condemned” may or may not appeal to most. For instance, much of the film has Dante (portrayed by Ronen Rubinstein) and his girlfriend Maya (portrayed by Dylan Penn) run up and down a staircase to escape impeding threats. In this instance, “Condemned” truly lacked creativity and wasn’t entertaining at all.

The characters themselves were truly unique, a modern upgrade to the typical horror film cast. We have junkies, a transvestite prostitute, a drug dealer and a homosexual Neo-Nazi BDSM couple, if that isn’t outlandish, what is?  Its virtually impossible to connect with any of these characters, but all in all why should we? “Condemned” is a horror movie and the aforementioned cast were well composed as disposable entities.

The acting was questionable, slightly above satisfactory in comparison to most low budget films. However, there were scenes that truly shined above others. Dylan Penn in her feature film debut offered a less than stellar performance. Casting her in the role of a suburban girl naive to inner New York City life was the key to her downfall. Honor Titus, known locally as  lead the vocalist of the Brooklyn-based punk rock band Cerebral Ballzy portrays a junkie named, Loki. The character lacks seriousness and  is more of a comical relief than a threat he’s intended to be. One scene worth mentioning is the intense and creatively executed “Garbage man monologue” delivered by veteran actor Johnny Messner.  

Merits should be awarded to the practical effects department. The make-up, gore and everything in between looked phenomenal. Its evident the production relied on the gore factor to elevate the film. However, it should be noted that the inclusion of  gory in “Condemned” weren’t tossed in for cheap thrills and/or a gimmick for reactions.

In conclusion, “Condemned” has its pros and cons, a regurgitated vision with an edgy feel. The method in which the film ends there’s room for a sequel and/or a potential franchise. With that in mind, improvements can be made to shift the premise into different avenues. Does “Condemned” merit status as a cult classic or a time tested gem, perhaps not. Eli Morgan Gesner’s “Condemned” can be best described as a gritty New York City Horror film.


Rating Criteria

  • 0-10 Avoid
  • 11-20- Mediocre
  • 21-30 -Good
  • 31-40 – Average
  • 41-50- Decent
  • 51-60 – Stunning
  • 71-80 – Must See
  • 81-90 – Amazing
  • 91-100 – Impressive


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