Review: The Facility / Cert: 18 / Director: Ian Clark / Screenplay: Ian Clark / Starring: Aneurin Barnard, Alex Reid, Steve Evets, Chris Larkin / Release date: May 6th
Authentic, realistic and even sincere at times, Ian Clark's The Facility tells the story of seven volunteers of a clinical trial run by Prosyntrex Pharmaceuticals. For £2000 pounds they agree to be guinea pigs of a new drug called “Pro9” for two weeks at a clinic. One by one each of the participants is injected with either Pro9 or the control drug. When the doctor says, “Pro9 has dealt us some unforeseeable problems”, he's being a master of understatement.
The film begins with the group getting to know each other in this unusual situation. The tone is near-documentary, and the absence of a soundtrack and use of handheld cameras adds to the creepy, naturalistic effect – it's all about long stretches of silence, painfully white walls, endless corridors and very unattractive curtains. Oh, and the phones don't work, so they're pretty much stuck in solitary confinement.
There's a strong ensemble cast including Alex Reid (The Descent, Misfits), Aneurin Barnard (Elfie Hopkins) and Steve Evets (BBC’s recent zombie series In the Flesh). However, the main protagonists, Alex (Barnard) and Joni (Reid), feel slightly underdeveloped and do not contribute to the narrative as well as they could. It is the supporting characters such as Evetts as the sarcastic Derek and Skye Laurie as Carmen who prove the most enjoyable to watch.
Things are fine until Jed begins to have a bad reaction to the drugs in the middle of the night. As he tears his hair out, cries out and his skin becomes ferociously red, the doctor sedates him & takes him to be observed overnight. It is after this that Arif (Amit Shah) becomes nervous and attempts to escape the medical clinic. However, when the same thing happens to him and both he and Jed become manically violent, it is clear that the drugs are doing this to the patients. As the remaining volunteers fear the severely affected participants, they must cope with the possibility that it may happen to them and must try and find a way to escape. The Facility is tense, violent and brutally finished off with an overwhelming ending that provides shocking answers about the nature of the medical trial.