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Containment (2015)

Containment (2015)

Writer: David Lemon
Director: Neil Mcenery-West
Tagline: Trust No One


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Full Review

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Containment (aka Infected) is an independent British horror movie with no monsters, ghosts or serial killers.

The film is set in one of a group of depressing tower blocks in a bleak suburban landscape. Mark (Lee Ross) wakes one morning in his usual squalid flat with walls so thin you can hear everything going on next door. However when he attempts to leave he discovers that the doors and windows have all been sealed overnight. Looking down below he sees a hazmat team setting up.

There's no dramatic irony in the film, we know as much and as little as the characters at any time. The situation is inherently scary - made worse by a 'reassuring' recorded message that everything is under control! As the story progresses Mark meets up with some of his other neighbours and they discover that there's some sort of unspecified killer virus loose.

The exact details of the virus and the back story are never made clear but that doesn't matter. The story is about the interaction between the characters and Them (the hazmats). Containment is character driven in the best sense: the character work is woven into the story rather than replacing it. There's also some subtle but important character development and things don't always go as the viewer expects.

I mentioned at the beginning of this review that there are no monsters in Containment. That's true, but the best zombie films are allegorical and there are a couple of scenes in Containment that could have come straight from Romero. This is clearly intentional, linking with the wartime reminiscences of Enid (superbly played by Sheila Reid) and showing the breakdown of normal behaviour under extreme conditions.

There are some minor flaws in the film, at the very beginning and the end. It's hard to believe that any authorities - let alone our British ones - could seal several tower blocks overnight without anyone noticing. And the phones would have been blocked immediately rather than conveniently left until the main character could make a story establishing call. The ending is perhaps a little too abrupt. But they're minor niggles which I could live with.

Containment can't claim any great marks for originality of concept, but execution is way above most other offerings in this subgenre. It's not a one-tone piece, the mood changes between claustrophobic fear, paranoia and mistrust through violence, revenge and despair as the characters and situation evolve. Mcenery-West's direction fits Lemon's script perfectly, the characters are interesting and at 77 minutes the pacing is just right.

Classy, intelligent and scary. Five stars from me.