Bickering criminals on the run from Johnny law break into a young woman’s home, kill her boyfriend and proceed to… keep bickering. Caught up in the middle of it all, titular hostage Amber sits on the sofa, gagged with a belt as husband and wife chastise each other, occasionally threaten/come on to her, bitch, whine and come up with stupid plans to escape their predicament. Matters are complicated even more when the gag is removed and Amber gets stuck in too...
At a scant twenty five minutes, Amber is a simple little psychological thriller that pits three characters against each other in a classic bit of bottle episode style storytelling. (Co) Writer and director Theo Gee handles the action well, wringing plenty of tension from Amber’s captivity in her dingy, claustrophobic living room. Chloe Crump emerges best of the three cast members (the dead boyfriend doesn’t count), the gag in her mouth preventing her from embarrassing herself as the other two do. For while the visual flourishes and writing work, for the most part, the ball is well and truly dropped by our criminal element, never coming across as scary or dangerous as they should.
It doesn’t help that the story isn’t saying as much as it thinks it is, relying on revelations that don’t hit as hard as they should, coming from characters it’s impossible to care about. Amber’s name in the title suggests a grand mystery box at the heart of the character, but she’s more or less what she appears to be, save for a twist that was better handled in Deadly Virtues (like the whole film really – and Deadly Virtues is not even a great movie itself).
Amber shows heart and smarts, but is let down by its amateur hour acting and lack of bite. Nobody likes tearing down small budget indies like this, so, ultimately, it’s perhaps best to say nothing at all.
AMBER / DIRECTOR: THEO GEE / SCREENPLAY: IAN BOUSCHER, THEO GEE / STARRING: CHLOE CRUMP, AJ STEVENSON, TORI HOPE / RELEASE DATE: TBA