Mercifully, “Nine Lives” is the very last Paris Hilton movie I have to cover in the IMDb Bottom 100. I will need to double-check, but I am almost certain that she makes the most appearances of any actor in the list. Lucky for me (I suppose), her role is very minimal in “Nine Lives”. Unfortunately, the movie is still really bad even after her early departure (she is the first death in the movie).
Outside of Paris, these are the most British characters I have ever seen. As the movie says, they are “chap(s) of chaps” (that is an actual line). As it interestingly turns out, the nationalities of the characters come into play in the plot (which is actually one of the few strengths of the film).
The nine characters are introduced to the audience as they go on vacation in an inherited Scottish home of one of the their family’s. After way too many slow scenes of small talk, a mysterious snowstorm traps the entire party on the grounds. Killing time, one of the characters discovers an ancient book in the home’s library. If you are familiar with “The Evil Dead”, you should have an idea of where this goes.
As it turns out, the book is cursed by an ancient Scotsman who was the original keeper of the lands, but was executed by English who overran his home. For unclear reasons, this Scottish ghost is capable of possessing people, which leads to murderous shenanigans.
The possessions in this story reminded me slightly of “The Horror Express”, which I also recently reviewed on this blog. Not only is the possession transferred in a viral manner from person to person (whoever kills the host is subsequently possessed), but it is always indicated by the discoloration of the host’s eyes. In “Express”, red eyes indicated possession, whereas solid black eyes indicate it in “Nine Lives”. It doesn’t dramatically impact the quality of the film, but it was a small thing that I thought looked pretty good. Credit to where it is due.
The plot is pretty straightforward once the killings start: their numbers are progressively whittled down, until one three of them remain. At this point, they have figured out how the possession transfers, which creates an interesting scene after the last host is defeated. The character who has mortally wounded the host has to make the decision to kill herself in order to prevent the ghost from continuing its massacre, which would have been pretty cool for a better movie.
I had a lot of good things to say in this particular review, but I want to make something absolutely clear: this movie is insufferably boring. It is objectively one of the least horrible movies I have seen in the IMDb Bottom 100, but the pacing and execution of all of these otherwise pretty good ideas is extremely poor, which makes it all the more frustrating. In particular, it takes way too long to get going in the beginning, with a lot of unnecessary scenes of socializing. the movie also never manages to build a decent atmosphere, and none of the characters ever quite clicked as particularly relate-able to me. Without the investment in the characters or the buildup of dramatic tension, the movie just winds up being slow.
Overall, I don’t recommend this one. There is very little action or investment to be had in the film, and subsequently not much entertainment value. If the filmmakers hadn’t taken the story so seriously, I think some comic relief would have gone a long way towards humanizing some characters and breaking up the monotony. Still, this is without a doubt the best Paris Hilton movie in the Bottom 100.
I mentioned “Horror Express”, but there is another movie I was reminded of while watching this: “You’re Next”. It manages to execute on a couple of elements that I liked in “Nine Lives”, namely the claustrophobia of the setting and the fear of knowing that the villain is among your party. And, despite the Scottish ghost being supernatural, there were no additional powers given to the possessed, so the battles were always human vs human, another common element with “You’re Next”. So, if you are interested in the plot outline of “Nine Lives”, go throw “You’re Next” and “Horror Express” in a blender.
Even after being pulverized in a blender together, they are both far better movies to watch than “Nine Lives”.