ELI Netflix (2019) Movie Review

Eli is an 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.

It was released on October 18, 2019, by Netflix.


Eli is a young boy suffering from a rare disease that causes him to have 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 facility for treatment. He is initially overjoyed that the facility allows him to hug his parents and enjoy comforts otherwise denied to him, however this is short lived as he begins to experience various supernatural phenomena throughout the facility. He also begins his treatments, which are excruciatingly painful. The supernatural phenomena increases at this point and the specters repeatedly leave him the message “lie”, which causes him to question his treatments.

During all of this he befriends Haley, a young girl that he meets through a large glass window in his room. She proves to be the only person who believes his claims that the house is haunted, as his parents are told by Horn that these are only hallucinations caused by the treaments. Haley also informs him that none of the other patients Horn treated ever left the facility, implying that they were all killed. With Haley’s help Eli manages to discover that the word “lie” is actually a room number, 317. He investigates the room and discovers Horn’s records of past patients, showing that all of the former patients were killed by the third and final treatment, which left them horribly burned.

Frightened, Eli unsuccessfully tries to persuade his parents to leave. His father tricks him into a false state of security, upon which point he tries to drug him into unconsciousness. Hurt and confused, Eli manages to run away and close himself off in Horn’s office, where he discovers a photograph of her as a nun as well as a secret passageway leading into an underground room filled with a circular stone monument and religious paraphernalia. He is locked in the room by Horn and passes out while experiencing an allergic attack, however when he later wakes he discovers that he can breathe and his disease was a lie. He manages to escape the room by knocking his mother unconscious, as she had visited him out of guilt for the duplicity, and but is ultimately recaptured by Horn and his father. During all of this his mother discovers that the stone monument contains the bodies of Horn’s last patients. Angry and horrified, she successfully threatens her way into the treatment room containing Eli using a dagger she discovered in the underground room, but is in turn tricked by her husband into turning over the knife.

It is then revealed that Eli’s disease was actually a result of him being a son of Satan and that the third treatment is actually a religious ritual that is meant to end in his death by way of holy water and Horn stabbing him with a sacrificial dagger. The ritual is interrupted when Eli begins manifesting his powers, which he uses to incapacitate Horn and her assistants and burn them alive. Upon confronting his mother, she reveals that she wanted a son so badly that she turned to Satan, who lied that he would be normal. Eli and his mother then leave the now burning house, where he is greeted by Haley. She reveals that she is also a child of Satan and that she was unable to save him, as he had to prove himself by being able to escape captivity. Haley questions whether or not he can trust his mother, however Eli responds by showing that he does still trust and love her. The film ends with Eli’s mother driving the two children away from the facility.

Eli – Kelly Reilly, Max Martini, Charlie Shotwell, Lili Taylor – Photo Credit: Netflix / Patti Perret

My Personal Thoughts

Eli is a movie about a ten-year-old boy named – as you might guess – Eli, who is allergic to everything. He lives in a big plastic tent and when he does go out he wears a blue hazmat suit lest he comes into contact with the air and breaks out in searingly painful red hives.

In a last-ditch attempt to cure him, his parents bring him to a secluded clinic – a clean house – where Dr Isabella Horn (Lili Taylor) promises to make him better. But something darker seems to be lurking in the house and Eli is the only one who can see it…

All we know at the outset of the movie is that four years ago Eli had a sudden allergic reaction to, well, everything. Since then he’s lived in a big plastic tent. But his parents Rose (Kelly Reilly) and Paul (Max Martini) find a doctor who says she can cure him.

The house looks like every other house in a horror movie, but particularly like Hill House from Haunting of Hill House, weirdly. When Eli removes his hazmat suit, he can breathe easy. His first night, however, is marked by spooky noises outside and what seems to be a hand streaking through the mist on the window.

Eli is brought in for his first round of treatment, which Dr Horn says might make him worse before he gets better. And boy, does it ever. He is plagued by what Dr Horn says are hallucinations – creepy ghosts who look like Sadako from The Ring.

The first two-thirds of the film are nothing like final third, in which the ghosts and dubious medical procedures give way to a full-on child-exorcism tale.

This isn’t helped by the parental characters, who flip-flop constantly throughout the movie. By the end, Paul is firmly “kill the demon son” whereas Rose is “rescue my devil baby” even though at the outset, Paul seemed apprehensive about the whole thing and Rose was gung-ho for it.

There’s no concrete explanation as to how Rose became pregnant. Was it an immaculate conception? Or did she get down and dirty with the devil? These are questions the movie doesn’t answer, unfortunately.

So Eli starts off as a spooky exploration of bodily autonomy and trust, and what it’s like when you realise your parents, doctors and other authority figures are fallible. But then it takes a hard left turn and becomes a straight-up exorcism movie. If there’s ever a sequel, we hope it’s a buddy-movie as Haley and Eli run rampant across the country.

Eli on Netflix: Is the horror movie worth an hour and a half of your time?

Horror movies are often at their scariest when they tap into some deep-seated fear we all have. This could be something as abstract as the dark or as inevitable as death.

Eli, our protagonist after whom this Netflix horror is named, is afraid of a lot of things –which makes sense since he starts the movie with a fatal allergy to, well, everything. Light, air, water, dust. But not cotton or denim, cause he wears clothes. But anyway…

His mom Rose (Kelly Reilly) is placating and babying while his father Paul (Max Martini) is gruff and unsympathetic – opposite sides of the same bad parent coin.

For most of the film, in the bits between the jump-scares, Eli presents itself as a movie about bodily autonomy, growing up, loss of trust in authority – whether it’s parents or doctors. But then something pops out from behind a cupboard and you’re thrown back into a mediocre horror movie.

When the final twist comes it is entirely out of left field, so much so that it suddenly feels like the first half of the movie you just watched belongs to something else entirely. This might not be considered by all to be a bad thing, but it makes for a disjointed watching experience.

What Are Doctor Horn’s Intentions?

Basically Dr Horn is not a actual doctor he is kind of Nun is living in her own delusional world where she believes that Eli is possessed by a demon of some sort and her medical procedure is nothing but an unorthodox exorcism technique. But again, things are not as simple as they may seem.

These are my personal opinion after watching movie.

I will rate this movie 7/10.

Directed byCiarán Foy
Produced by Trevor Macy John Zaozirny
Written by David Chirchirillo Ian Goldberg Richard Naing
Starring Kelly Reilly Sadie Sink Lili Taylor Max Martini Charlie Shotwell
Music byBear McCreary
CinematographyJeff Cutter
Edited byJason Hellmann
Paramount Players MTV Films Intrepid Pictures Bellevue Productions
Distributed byNetflix
Release date October 18, 2019 (United States)
Running time98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$11 million

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