"Nine strangers. One house. Only one will get out..."A 2004 Psychological Horror film directed by Steven R. Monroe, originally screened at the Cannes Film Festival before being released in the U.S. the following year.The film's premise has nine people kidnapped and shipped to a mansion with boarded doors and windows: Father Duffy, the priest; Jay, the detective; Lea, the dancer; Claire, the tennis player; Francis, the musician; Cynthia, Francis' wife; Al B, the rapper; Shona, the drug addict; and Max, the designer.When they all awaken and meet up in the same room, a voice from a speaker introduces himself as The Watcher. He informs them that they're trapped in the mansion with 75 surveillance cameras and will not be released unless only one person is alive. The remaining player will then walk out of the house and be rewarded five million dollars. Realizing that there is no way to bust through the mansion, they decide to keep their wits and get through this game. However, as time passes, the players find themselves succumbing to greed, fear, and mistrust, causing the mansion to be transformed into a warzone, where only one will win.
— Poster tagline
This film contains examples of:
- Ax-Crazy: Several of them have their moments, with Francis being the textbook example.
- Decoy Protagonist: Boy, I bet you thought Jay, the police officer and single father, would be making it through with Lea, right? Nope!
- Downer Ending:
- Lea is allowed to walk out with her five million in a bag. However, when she goes through, she finds herself in an identical foyer with four other people that have the same bags with them, scared and on the verge of crying. She then realizes that she'll have to play a new game.
- A different ending has Lea walking up in her own apartment, finding the five million and a tape nearby. The tape plays, the Watcher telling her that along with her prize money, she earned the rights to join an exclusive survival club. As the tape ends, it shows nine new people in the same bedroom that the original nine were placed. It then dawns on Lea that she's The Watcher of the new nine.
- Driven to Suicide: Al B. It's left ambiguous whether he actually did it out of guilt for having killed Jay, or if he was killed.
- Electrified Bathtub: Subverted. Francis attempts to kill Lea by ripping a light fixation while Lea washes her hands and drop it into the sink. Lea is shocked and knocked out, but awakens later.
- Final Girl: Lea has to face Francis after he's killed the others, and is in the end the lone survivor.
- In the Back: Francis stabs Father Duffy in the back before stealing the gun from his hands.
- Sanity Slippage: Most of the players go through this as time goes on, especially Francis.