First time filmmaker director Neil Mcenery-West provides us with an engaging and terrifying look at human behaviour, with his accomplished indie thriller Containment. Waking up to find that all your windows and doors are glued shut isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, especially our leading man Mark (Lee Ross) – who is desperately trying to stop his ex-wife from taking his son away.
Stuck with no water, no power and above all, no explanation as to why he cannot escape his apartment, it is quickly revealed that Mark is not in this situation alone. After smashing through walls, a transformed Andrew Leung as skinhead Sergei and his younger brother end up tagging along with Mark and curious couple Sally (Louise Brealey) and Aiden (William Postlethwaite). Of course, given the situation, there is a lot of room for clichéd characters you’d expect to see residing in a flat block – the old lady, a young couple, and of course, the confrontational chav – but this avoids falling flat on it’s face, instead adding realism to proceedings, enriched by the much needed satirical comedy that exists, adding some light relief to a film otherwise engulfed in doom.
Containment seems to be under the radar, yet this is undoubtedly of the same calibre as 28 Days Later, The Divide and to an extent, Phone Booth. Despite the film’s rather short running time, narratively speaking this is executed with finesse. The structure and pace marry up resulting in a non-stop, nail biting feud between man and virus. What makes this film so enjoyable is its sense of mystery. We, along with the characters residing in this virus infested block, are completely left in the dark as to what is actually going on. Being bombarded with repeat messages telling them to remain calm due to a gas leak only raises suspicion and in turn makes you as eager as our protagonists in gaining some answers.
Additionally, a stuffy sense of claustrophobia emerges as panic spreads and these people start resorting to desperate measures. This unchartered desire for answers and the need to survive, results in people turning on each other, showing their true selfish colours, which, at times, is truly horrifying. To witness what this very different group of people do over the course of film makes your skin crawl.
Above all, Containment proves that you don’t need a whopping great budget, nor an A-list cast to produce an accomplished piece of work. The British film industry is booming with Indie flicks and this is a welcome addition. With a great premise, beautiful sweeping camera movements and some great performances; Containment illustrates just how ruthless humans can truly be.
Containment is out in UK cinemas, on iTunes and on VOD platforms on Friday 11th September. Get behind-the-scenes on We Are Colony here; https://www.wearecolony.com/containment.