Starring: Lee Ross, Sheila Reid, Louise Brealey, Pippa Nixon. UK. 1h 30m
This plucky little drama horror is set in an average London tower block with average London people forced to go through an extraordinary ordeal for reasons unknown.
The lead Mark (Ross) wakes up late for work, rushing to get ready, swallowing some coffee he attempts to call his estranged wife but soon discovers that his front door isn’t just locked but epoxied shut, thinking that someone is playing a trick on him, his attention is soon brought to a loudspeaker telling him and the other residents not to panic, emergency services and hazmat suited staff are setting up a base outside the apartment and a few faces can be seen in neighbouring apartments staring back in as much dismay as him.
With the help of a sledgehammer and a hot temper a young neighbour soon bashes his way into Mark‘s flat with his young brother in toe and soon a diverse ground band together in order to seek their freedom and to survive this extreme ordeal. There are few typical characters here, the brains, the muscle, the thinker, and the total waste of space who has can all be found among the troupe.
The film is cleverly written with some very real characters, no one is begging to be a hero and no one suddenly turns into MaGuyver, there’s high levels of stress and depression as matters get more desperate, and everyone just does what they can if it helps the group or not. The dynamics between them changes as they learn about each other in their dimly lit environment.
It’s not the first containment film of it’s kind and it does fall into a few cliché traps but overall it’s a surprisingly fresh approach on the genre, there’s not a tedious hoard of zombies to contend with and the movie never really strives to be a blood fest but there are some crazy manic scenes and a level of action and violence, which are incredibly tense and scary. It has been done before and has been done better, but the human aspect in Containment just can’t be matched. Director Neil Mcenery-West does take out a few minutes to silence the film with a few extended long shots where no a lot happens, usually casting his camera across the city scape, possibly to lengthen the short movie time but for me I saw it as a moment to collect thoughts, much like McQueens’s steady long shots in Hunger (2008), the camera will pause while Mark and his temporary friends attempt to take stock and make their next move as they navigate around their homes in ways they never thought possible.
Is it scary!? Nope not really, it’s definitely disturbing especially if you put yourself in the shoes of any of the characters involved, there isn’t one scene where you could clearly see yourself as being able to escape from the situation… and that’s depressing in itself. A slightly ambiguous ending doesn’t do the film justice but again it keeps things very real.
R: Intruders (short), Tower Block (2012), La Horde (2009),
L: Containment Movies, Infection Movies, Trapped Movies,