THE FACILITY (2012)
Dir. Ian Clark 79 mins
UK Release: 6th May 2013
The premise of ‘The Facility’ is an intriguing one. We’ve all seen the adverts inviting people to take part in clinical trials, and those of us with a fertile imagination may have elaborated on such a scenario to wonder “what if it went wrong?”
As the film begins we’re introduced to seven participants of varying ages and backgrounds all arriving at the Linebrook Clinic, a rather sterile building seemingly in the middle of nowhere. They’re told that they are to take part in phase one of the trial, a two week endeavour where they’ll be injected with an initial 2mg dose of Pro9 – the experimental drug – with daily top ups of 1mg.
With the first dosage administered, it’s not long before one of the participants, 22 year old estate agent Jerome (Oliver Coleman), begins to have a serious reaction as he’s found convulsing and screaming on the clinic floor. As anxiety fills the rest of the group, Arif (Amit Shah), perturbed at Jerome’s reaction demands to go home, but is pacified by the trial leader Dr. Mansell (Chris Larkin) into waiting until the morning. As the group finally settles for the night, it’s not long before Arif wakes in a cold sweat and stumbles around the dimly lit facility clearly feeling the effects of the drug. He staggers into the ward where everyone is sleeping and falls to the ground in a heap just as the group turn the lights on to find him covered in someone else’s blood. As the others dash to find help they discover Dr. Mansell, also covered in blood, albeit his own seeping from a gaping wound to his head. Horrified at the evenings developments, the patients set out to escape the terror – if they can find a way out.
As the storyline progresses, egos come to the fore and individuals press for their own survival tactics to be adopted. The characters that stand out are lead by unemployed Mancunian Derek, played brilliantly by Steve Evets (Looking For Eric), whose willingness to inject himself with a variety of drug cocktails provide some rare humour. Welsh post-graduate Adam (Aneurin Barnard) and office temp Joni (Alex Reid) are also well cast in their roles. I do feel though that the role of journalist Katie (Mia Roberts), who is more obsessed with getting the story than helping her fellow guinea pigs, could have been fleshed out a little more.
Overall though, this is a functional British thriller with a horror edge. Set within the claustrophobic confines of this darkened research clinic, the film has an undeniably foreboding feel to it. Ultimately though, it’s a film that leaves you with more questions than answers. It’s a frustrating end to a film that had the seeds to be a solid British genre movie.
5 out of 10