“The 9th Life of Louis Drax,” a supernatural thriller that misfires on all cylinders, takes nine lifetimes to get going, and even when it sort of does, it feels stuck in some boring realm of the subconscious.
The premise has guilty-pleasure potential: A young boy named Louis (Aiden Longworth) has survived one near-death accident after another. His luck — or bad luck, depending on how you look at it — takes on a new dimension when he falls backward off a giant, rocky cliff and somehow defies death again.
That perilous plunge draws the curiosity of a neurologist (who gives TED talks, natch) and the police, who wonder, among other things, why the boy’s father (Aaron Paul) is mysteriously missing.
There’s a story here, somewhere, but sloppy editing, uninteresting flashbacks, cringe-worthy talks between a boy and a monster, and a half-baked script ensure an experience that dulls the senses.
It’s hard to criticize the actors when they have so little to work with, but Jamie Dornan deserves a special citation for the woodenness of his neurologist. At least Oliver Platt, as an offbeat psychologist, and Molly Parker, as a hardened police officer, breathe some life into their characters.
The last act offers a few surprises, but the twists and turns seem more labored than thrilling. The ninth life is supposed to be the best one for Louis, but it’s comatose, in more ways than one.
(At Barrywoods, Studio 28.)
‘The 9th Life of Louis Drax’
Rated R. Time: 1:48.