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11th Apr 09
Four women wake up in a locked room with no memory and are forced to take part in some kind of weird and very dangerous experiment.
A young lady wakes up in a room with four camp beds, one of them hers, three others populated by three other sleeping young ladies. She has no idea how she got there and can't even remember her own name, although a bracelet on her wrist labels her as Katherine. The room she's in has a door, a toilet and that's it, and the walls are made from the kind of fencing that surrounds construction sites, backed by plastic sheeting.
The other girls wake and they too have no memory. As they talk amongst themselves with differing levels of hysteria, two doctors enter the room, one with a cane, one with a beard. The one with the cane, who is the kind of brilliant mad doctor character you don't get enough of these days (the same breed as that guy that experimented on the soldiers corpses in Day of the Dead), leads Katherine out to a room containing a Clockwork Orange style viewing machine, followed by the beardy doctor, who isn't very convincing at all, especially near the end of the movie.
But that’s later - in the viewing room Katherine is subjected to various images and her emotions recorded. When she goes back to the room we discover that all the ladies have, one by one, gone through the same thing, and none have them have had it explained to them what's happening. The plot, as they say, thickens.
After a good night's sleep, however, the lady known as Elaine awakes to find a number cut in her back. The next night she dies, after being visited in her sleep by a bizarre mad butcher doctor with a massive, blood soaked meat cleaver. And this is the format for most of the movie - each night one of them wakes with a number carved about their person and the next night they die at the hands of this mad butcher chap. What is happening? What information is that machine recording? How does that mad butcher guy fit in? What the hell is that tentacled alien thing doing in 'Room 571'? And why does that beardy guy in particular keep giving Katherine funny looks?
All very good questions, of which nearly all of them answered by the end of the running time. It was with great interest that we received this screener from writer/director James Eaves (in hand made blood soaked cloth packaging no less!) as his last effort The Witches Hammer we enjoyed immensely. That had vampires, kung-fu, machine guns and Stephanie Beecham, which pretty much ticked all the boxes for a wicked little B-movie action flick, especially since all of it was filmed in or around the back streets of good old Blighty. Bane, on the other hand, is a much more intimate movie, with only a handful of characters in a very limited number of sets, which is a very different kettle of fish.
So, has Mr Eaves pulled it off? Well, inevitably the answer is 'yes' and 'no'. These kind of slow paced, tightly filmed movies make or break on the attention to detail - the sets, the acting and the editing. The acting, with the exception of the bearded doctor, is generally very good with Katherine, the grumpy girl and the doctor with the cane in particular working very hard with the material. Similarly the editing, especially whenever there’s an action sequence, is brilliantly handled, with the sound having particular attention paid to it. But the sets - the cheap fencing with plastic sheeting attached to it - lets the piece down a little, as does the over-reliance on overly bright lighting.
The film ends with a twist that, while not predictable as such, you kind of get the feeling early that there's going to be a twist at the end so when it finally gets here you're not really that surprised. When I say 'finally' I mean that - the limited cast and limited set means that the movie does, in parts, drag, which is a shame considering how hard everyone is working. And perhaps it all wraps up a little too quickly at the end, even if the action finale is the great fun action gore blast that you’re secretly hoping for.
So let's be positive. We were really expecting a lot from Bane and in that respect we're probably being overly critical. James Eaves can shoot, edit and add special effects and gore very, very well on a limited budget and the cast do a decent job on the whole, it’s just the final piece is, in parts, a little slow. The film has its highlights for sure, mainly every action sequence, Katherine and that doctor with the cane, but you'll probably walk away with that niggling feeling that something is slightly lacking. And that thing is budget, but that’s not going to be a problem for Mr. Eaves much longer, not by a long shot.
So, more hit and miss than The Witches Hammer, but still good and we’re still very keen to see James Eaves' next effort, as this guy is a talent to watch. Next time maybe we can have vampires, kung-fu and tentacled alien things, what do you say James?
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