Sticking a bunch of seemingly strangers in a single room and making them discover how each of them is connected before they are each killed by an unknown person is a very common set up for indie films seeking to use very few locations. It all started off with Saw (2004), although truth is known it was Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, and has now become its own sub-genre of horror film. This is where the film Nine Dead (2010) lies except it is neither interesting nor affective as that film.
The film concerns nine strangers who are kidnapped by a masked man and held captive in an underground location. They are forced to uncover how they are all connected while one of them is killed every ten minutes. Sounds like an interesting premise? Not really, the film relies on haphazard flashbacks and unconvincing tension between characters to keep the film moving forward in the face of a pretty unbelievable premise.
The biggest problem with the film is the fact that once all the pieces of the puzzle start to take shape you realize how improbable and ludicrous the circumstances are as well as how the killer/kidnapper could ever know all the details himself (unless he was psychic). The flashbacks are sporadic and never completely relevant to the whole story as many times they show incidental moments instead of pertinent ones. As written by Patrick W. Mahoney and directed by Chris Shadley the film never strives to be anything other than derivative lacking the punch and drive of the film it so desperately tries to emulate.