January 28, 2016 Containment (Movie Review)
Containment is the latest British Horror/Thriller which was released on September 22, 2015 in the USA and UK via Vision Films. Written by David Lemon (Legends series 2001, Doctors series) along with writer/director Neil Mcenery-West making his debut, the movie is set in modern day. Filmed on location in Weston Tower Blocks, Southampton, in 2014, the blocks remained occupied by tenants throughout filming, and many of the residents act as extras in the film. Lemon himself had a cameo as one of the hazmat suited people. Garnishing attention, Containment won the Accession Award at the East End Film Festival in 2015, and now the films buzz looks to spread to the USA.
An artist, Mark (Lee Ross: The English Patient 1996, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014) wakes one morning to find he has been sealed in his apartment, with no electricity, water, or communication with the outside world. However, a computerized voice repeats, “please remain calm, the situation is under control,” throughout the course of the film. This acts to increase the stress, tension, and frustration of being trapped. People in hazmat suits have a military type base set up outside the building, which fills Mark with dread. Mark is at a complete loss in understanding what is going on. Like many people who live close together, Mark does not have personal relationships with his neighbors. This soon changes when one of them, Sergei (Andrew Leung: Lilting 2014, Balsa Wood 2014), grows tired of being locked in and busts through the wall separating his and Mark’s apartments.
The two team up to discover what is going on, and continue to break through walls. They come across other neighbors, Enid (Sheila Reid: Brazil 1985, Felicia’s Journey 1999), Sally (Louise Brealey: Ripper Street series, Sherlock series) and Aiden (William Postlethwaite: The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane 2013, Tea for Two 2015), Hazel (Pippa Nixon: John Carter 2012, Panic 2014), Sinead (Hannah Chalmers: Eats Shoots and Leaves 2011, 45 Years 2015), and Nicu (Gabriel Senior: Desert Dancer 2014). Together they form a group, determined to learn the truth. During the course of their discoveries, their individual personalities serve as a further disruption. When they get hold of one of the hazmat suited people, they believe all their questions will be answered. Yet, the opposite becomes the case. The group find themselves on the run for their lives, all while trapped in their apartment building. The internal social structure of the group crumbles, putting them all at greater risk.
Mcenery-West began production on the film back in 2008 after a life-long desire to direct a Thriller. Using a modern day version of 1954’s novel Lord of the Flies as inspiration, his original idea had one main character trapped. Lemon expanded upon this idea, and together they created Containment. The small cast carries the film well, interacting with each other in a realistic manner. They each maintain their characters throughout each change in intensity and pace, never wavering from the part. Special effects are minimal, relying more on creep factor than blood and gore. The cinematography by Arthur Mulheron (Anne’s Kitchen 2013-2014, Kidz Time TV 2015) equally keeps on track, and is complemented by a tight soundtrack composed by Graham Hadfield (Hinterland 2015, David Attenborough Meets President Obama 2015), which builds the tension in each scene.
Containment follows along the lines of films such as 28 Days Later (2002), Quarantine (2008), and Contagion (2011), bringing the fear of a disease outbreak back to screens. While the storyline does not offer anything new to the genre, the characters depth gives another perspective. An interesting story, with tight suspense, and a great afternoon’s watch from across the pond, CrypticRock.com gives Containment 3.5 out of 5 stars.