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Staring Contest

10x10 follows a man who kidnaps a woman and holds her in a soundproof, cushioned cell within his home. This begins a game of psychological cat-and-mouse as the two unravel secrets and hidden motivations.

10x10 Review

10x10 is a fairly common thriller concept that uses kidnapping/captivity as a vehicle for revealing mysteries to the audience in rhythmic phases throughout the film. I happen to be a sucker for this style of filmmaking, so I can ignore the slight drop in originality. The story is different enough that it doesn't piece together perfectly, but you can make one big assumption at the beginning of the film that you'll likely be right on. These movies tend to be best when you leave you mind blank and let the movie do its thing, but sometimes it's hard...

The character and story building is choppy at times, rather than gradual. The point of the movie isn't to reveal things in a subtle way or give you big revelations, but rather deliver a piece of information a segment at a time. There's nothing wrong with that, but it can feel more cookie-cutter than mysterious.

The acting is strong from our two leads, giving performances that cross a decent spectrum of moral ambiguity that actually keeps you guessing more than is necessary. The overall tension raises and falls in a way that reminded me of films like Captivity and Pet, though the motivations of characters are obviously very different.

The action is limited to its psychological tension, and of course the usual "escape room" hijinks. Despite a plot with some interesting moments, it never feels terribly engaging. I had moments of wrapping my mind around the moral implications, but my own mind's exploration was more intriguing than the film on several occasions.

10x10 is a decent date-night movie with a significant other that can meet you half-way from horror at the thriller route. And in that scenario, it's a pretty good fit. It's not the ideal choice for someone looking for a high-end psychological thriller, and most certainly not horror, but it can tickle your mystery bone well enough to make it worth it if you're into that.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 6/10

Horror Quality: 3/10

Film Quality: 5/10

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