Eli (2019 film)
|Directed by||Ciarán Foy|
|Music by||Bear McCreary|
|Edited by||Jason Hellmann|
Eli is a 2019 American horror film, directed by Ciarán Foy from a screenplay by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg, and Richard Naing. It stars Kelly Reilly, Sadie Sink, Lili Taylor, Max Martini, and Charlie Shotwell.
The film was produced by Paramount Players, MTV Films, Intrepid Pictures and Bellevue Productions and was released on October 18, 2019, by Netflix, making it the first film from Paramount Players to not receive a theatrical release. It received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its performances and atmosphere, and criticism for its slow pacing and tone.
Eli Miller is a young boy suffering from a rare disease that causes severe allergic reactions to the outdoors, forcing him to live his life in protective gear. His parents, Rose and Paul, have taken him to Dr. Isabella Horn's secluded medical facility, a large, old house that has been modernized and quarantined. Eli is initially overjoyed that the facility allows him to remove his "bubble suit", embrace his parents, and enjoy comforts previously denied to him. His joy is short-lived, however, as he begins to experience supernatural phenomena in the house. He also begins his treatments, which are excruciatingly painful. The spectres repeatedly leave him the message lie, and Eli begins to wonder if they are trying to warn him about Horn's treatments.
Eli befriends Haley, a young girl with whom he speaks through a large window in the house's first floor. She is the only person who believes his claims that the house is haunted. She tells him none of the other patients Horn treated left the facility, implying that they died. Eli discovers the word "LIE" is actually the inverted number 317, the passcode to Horn's office. When he investigates the office, he finds Horn's records of past patients, showing that all of them were killed by the third final treatment.
Eli unsuccessfully tries to persuade his parents that they need to leave the facility but Paul tries to drug him into unconsciousness. Hurt and confused, Eli barricades himself in Horn's office. He finds a photograph of Horn and her assistants dressed as nuns, and a hidden passageway to an underground room with religious paraphernalia. Horn locks him inside and he experiences an allergic reaction and passes out. When he awakes, he finds he can breathe fine, and he actually has no disease. Rose, feeling guilty for deceiving Eli, goes to him. Eli pretends he's still unconscious. When she opens the gate, he knocks her unconscious with a crucifix and flees but is recaptured by Horn and his father.
His mother regains consciousness and finds a dagger in the crucifix. She also discovers that the stone monument in the room conceals the bodies of Horn's previous patients, bound and adorned with religious symbols. Horrified and enraged, she forces her way into the treatment room but Paul subdues her. It is then revealed that Eli is actually an illegitimate child of Satan himself, and his "allergic reactions" were actually manifestations of his developing demonic abilities. Horn begins the third "treatment:" a religious ritual meant to end Eli's life. When she tries to stab him with the sacrificial dagger, Eli displays very strong bursts of telekinetic energy to levitate Horn and her assistants in the air, spin upside-down (resembling the Cross of St. Peter), then bursts into flames. He also sets the house afire. Eli's mother reveals that she wanted a son so badly, she turned to Satan, who lied that Eli would be a normal child. Eli's stepfather advances with the sacrificial dagger, but Eli kills him by crushing his face telekinetically.
Eli and his mother leave the burning house with every step his takes, where Haley greets them in front of a car. Again telling Eli he is stronger than the others, who were his sadly departed paternal half-brother and half-sisters, were also devil/human hybrids. She reveals that she, too, is an illegitimate child of Satan, and that she was unable to tell him as he had to find and prove his own strength in order to "earn his place." She offers to take Eli to his biological father. When he accepts, Haley wonders if Eli can trust his mother. He indicates that he can, and the film ends with Rose driving the two children away from the burning facility.
- Charlie Shotwell as Eli Miller who is revealed to be the illegitimate son of the Devil himself, having inherited incredibly strong telekinetic and pyrokinetic abilities from him.
- Kelly Reilly as Rose Miller, Eli's mother who prayed to the Devil himself for a child when God abandoned her. She leaves with Eli and his half-sister Haley to take them to their demon father.
- Max Martini as Paul Miller, Eli's Father who is revealed to not be his biological father.
- Lili Taylor as Dr. Isabella Horn, a doctor who plans to "cure" Eli of his "rare condition."
- Sadie Sink as Haley, a teenage girl who assists Eli, and is revealed to be his older paternal half-sister
- Deneen Tyler as Nurse Barbara
- Katia Gomez as Nurse Maricela
- Austin Foxx as Perry Hobbes
- Kailia Posey as Agnes Thorne, a devil/human hybrid who was killed by Dr. Horn's treatments. She was Eli's older half-sister.
- Parker Lovein as Lucius Woodhouse who was a devil/human hybrid who was killed by Dr. Horn's treatments. He was Eli's older half-brother.
- Lou Beatty Jr as Motel owner
- Jared Bankens as Gang leader
- Nathaniel Woolsey as Punks #1
- Mitchell De Rubira as Punks #2
- Kaleb Naquin as Punks #3
David Chirchirillo's screenplay was mentioned in the 2015 Black List, compiling the best scripts of the year. In March 2017, it was announced that Ciarán Foy would direct the film, with Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing contributing to Chirchirillo's screenplay.
Trevor Macy and John Zaozirny produced the film, while Melinda Nishioka served as a co-producer. Daniel Hammond and Gabriel Hammond executive produced the film under their Broad Green Pictures, Intrepid Pictures and Bellevue Productions banners, respectively.
In October 2017, Charlie Shotwell was cast to star in the film. In December 2017, Sadie Sink and Kelly Reilly also joined the cast.  In January 2018, Lili Taylor and Max Martini were also added.
In October 2017, Paramount Players acquired distribution rights to the project, and set it for a January 4, 2019, release. However, Netflix bought distribution rights to the film from Paramount after Paramount reportedly could not figure out how to market the film. Netflix released it on their service on October 18, 2019.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 48% based on 25 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus states, "Intermittently effective if not wholly successful, Eli offers horror fans a handful of jump scares in search of a truly terrifying story."
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 12, 2018). "Netflix Buys Horror Pic 'Eli' From Paramount". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- Busch, Anita (March 24, 2017). "Ciarán Foy To Direct Broad Green's Horror Offering 'Eli'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- N'Duka, Amanda (October 24, 2017). "Charlie Shotwell To Star in 'Eli' From Paramount Players". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- Kit, Borys (December 4, 2017). "'Stranger Things' Actress Sadie Sink, Kelly Reilly Join Horror Film 'Eli' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- N'Duka, Amanda (January 11, 2018). "Lili Taylor Joins Paramount Players' 'Eli'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- Galuppo, Mia (January 26, 2018). "'Fifty Shades' Actor Max Martini Joins Paramount Horror 'Eli' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- Miska, Brad (January 26, 2018). "Paramount's 'Eli' Goes 50 Shades of Horror". Bloody-Disgusting.com. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 16, 2017). "Paramount Players Snaps Up Horror Title 'Eli'; Schedules 2019 Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- Menata, Anna (September 13, 2019). "Netflix Reveals 'Netflix and Chills' Horror Slate of 5 Original Films, Just in Time for Halloween". Decider.com. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
- "Eli (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 28, 2019.