The 9th Life of Louis Drax, from director Alexandre Aja, is struggling to win over critics as it hits select theaters this weekend.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax is based on Liz Jensen’s 2004 novel and was adapted for the big screen by actor Max Minghella, making his screenwriting debut. The story follows 9-year-old Louis Drax (Aiden Longworth) who has faced death nine times – by way of food poisoning, electrocution, and now, a harrowing plummet off the side of a cliff. As Louis lies in a coma, his mother (Sarah Gadon), psychiatrist (Oliver Platt) and neurosurgeon (Jamie Doranan) try to figure out why Drax’s life always seems to be in peril. Is it his stepdad Peter (Aaron Paul)? Or is something supernatural at play?

The 9th Life Of Louis Drax Reviews

While Aja has endeared himself to critics and filmgoers in the past with his previous pictures, The 9th Life of Louis Drax apparently lacks the charms of its predecessors. For some, the biggest gripe about Louis Drax is the cloyingly precocious protagonist. For others, it’s the disjointed pacing and muddled tone. Whatever the reason, the critics seem to be in agreement that The 9th Life of Louis Drax is one that can be missed.

“For Aja, who has demonstrated an appetite for truly twisted material in the past, it all adds up to a disappointingly tame outing. After all, the stakes are low when your protagonist is as good as dead to begin with, though it takes a special kind of sadist to kill (or almost kill) a kid nine times, and in that respect, both Aja and novelist Jensen start to look nearly as twisted as whoever’s responsible in the first place.” – Peter Debruge, Variety


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“It’s not clear whether “The 9th Life of Louis Drax” is deliberately inconsistent or merely an example of confused filmmaking. One thing is certain, however: It sure leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. When the movie finally settles on a tone… it’s too late. The ending doesn’t pay off the way it might have because you’re left feeling misled.” – Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

“Because Aja is a director whose fright film M.O. is to not just kill but overkill, he telegraphs the movie’s deep, dark secrets surprisingly early in how he directs Gadot and Paul as the clashing but doting parents. At the heart of this contorted piece is a painfully solvable mystery about seemingly unsolvable emotions, but because it’s treated like a shell game intended to shock us instead of a directly engaged, nuanced psychodrama, its revelatory power is lost. One is left laughing about situational absurdities.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Nine lives is nine too many for “The 9th Life of Louis Drax,” a muddled, boneheaded, laughable fantasy drama that stumbles from the gate and never finds its purpose. Aiden Longworth is insufferable as the title character, a painfully precocious child who winds up in a coma after falling from a cliff during a family picnic. […] Leave this dud alone; do not resuscitate.” – Adam Graham, Detroit News

The 9th Life Of Louis Drax is currently in select theaters.

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