Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
What's it about
Four women awake to find themselves trapped in a prison doubling as a medical facility. Their memories have been erased. The creepy doctors are calling it an experiment, and the girls have apparently volunteered for the study. But what about the guy with a sickle that carves numbers into their flesh and then comes back later to stalk them? Is that part of the experiment too?
Is it good movie?
I liked that BANE leaned more toward sci-fi than straight-up horror. The film opens with a scenario that looks like a set-up for the next SAW, but in spirit it’s closer to something like THE TWILIGHT ZONE or THE OUTER LIMITS. Writer/director James Eaves ropes us along for a rather engaging mystery with some gory touches along the way, and makes the most of a low-budget production with minimal but spooky sets, clever practical effects and solid acting.
Like the characters, we the audience haven’t a single clue what the hell is going on from the outset of the film. We know there are probably answers coming, and we’re kind of anxious to get to them. BANE does a pretty good job of keeping us morbidly intrigued throughout. The plastic-wrapped prison provides an eerie setting for the “experiment.” The doctors hook the girls up to machinery to read their brainwaves and examine their responses to emotional stimuli. There are guys in biohazard suits and weird mime-like masks creeping around the place. It’s a very cold, sterile, and claustrophobic environment.
Sophia Dawnay, Lisa Devlin, Tina Barnes and Sylvia Robson play the lead roles and each one is credible – definitely a blessing in a movie like this. Although each of them is shoehorned into a familiar character mold a little too easily (the “nice girl”, the “feisty one”, the “one with leadership qualities”, the “total innocent”), the acting is still fairly good. Also registering a strong presence is Daniel Jordan as the head physician, a total sleazebag who seems to get a little too giddy while the girls are in pain.
BANE establishes a cool atmosphere because of solid technical credits across the board. The sound editing on the film is excellent and filled with nice details. Ronnie Doyle’s score is unusually effective. The film’s main weakness is that turns out to be, predictably, way too heavily loaded with explanations during the last 10 minutes. There is a lot of time saved at the end for divulging absolutely everything, and the film gives satisfying enough answers to what we were wondering for 90 minutes. At the same time, BANE is probably at its silliest here, and not everything makes sense when you run over it again afterward. Less, perhaps, would have been more.
Video / Audio
BANE is an interesting hybrid of science-fiction and slasher that mostly succeeds at what it sets out to do. It’s pretty good for its type, as it unravels an engaging mystery with a nice dollop of the gory stuff. Worth checking out.