It always worries me when a company like Paramount dumps a film for theatrical release, and someone like Netflix picks it up. Another oddity about Eli (2019) is that the opening credits say MTV Films; I had no idea they were still doing anything that wasn’t animated or with a teen focus.

Eli (Charlie Shotwell) is about a boy (yeah, Eli) who has an auto-immune disease that won’t allow him to go outside and is forced to live in a bubble and wear a hazmat suit to go outside or he’ll burn…that’s a little clue from the opening scene, and as usual, I will attempt to be spoiler-free, though it might be difficult.

His parents, Paul (Max Martini) and Rose (Kelly Reilly), take Eli to a treatment facility in the middle of nowhere. When they first showed the house, I kept thinking where I’d seen it before, but I can’t place it as I write this. Doctor Horn, played by Lili Taylor, provides some extremely hardcore treatments to cure Eli of what ails him that are on the verge of being tortuous.

The effects aren’t anything special, but not too bland, and the thrilling moments came and went quickly, though all of it kept me interested and not worried about how much time was left as many movies do to me. The story has its holes, but I can forgive it because I was entertained. I was glad when Eli finally started to fight back, and his true colors show through. I didn’t expect the twist and was intrigued by the truth of what was “wrong” with Eli.

Before writing this, I checked to see what others were saying about Eli, and I’m surprised that it’s being panned as much as it is. I thought it was a nice change from the norm, though I do see why Paramount had trouble figuring out how to market it.

I enjoyed Eli and the strange ending that left it open for a sequel, so I’m giving it 4 out of 5 Stars


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