Studiocanal’s latest release is a small low budget claustrophobic British thriller that had originally been screened at last year’s Frightfest film festival. Despite this and the suggestion the title sounds like a typical low budget horror title, this is not a horror film but a thriller almost set entirely in a small deep sea submersible. This is the first feature film for the film’s writer and director Ben Parker who should be commended for doing a good job in filming, or at the very least audaciously setting the film in such a seemingly confined space relying on the paranoia that the situation in being stranded in the cold ocean depths poses.
The film opens with the credits, running over the top are snippets of news from CNN and such like with a montage of statements from the likes of (now former) Secretary of State John Kerry warning of the dangerous undisclosed action by the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea is having as the world once again appears to be on the brink of conflict. This immediately sets up a feeling of tension and fear before we have even entered the small submersible. A Special-Ops team are on board a frigate skirting in an and out of North Korean waters on the 38th Parallel. The submersible is launched off this unmarked frigate with a crew of four into the sea and makes its way down to the dark depths in search of an initially unknown object on the ocean floor. The crew reach the bottom of the ocean floor of about 200 metres and discover that the item they are looking for is a large bomb. Paranoia and suspicion takes a hold of the crew, especially when they receive a radio message to say that the ship has been taken over by the North Koreans and now find themselves isolated. When the bomb goes off further problems arise, the submersible rolls on the ocean floor with now no power and water coming in…
Parker’s film seems to be somewhere between The Abyss (1989) or The Descent (2005) but without the sci-fi or horror elements and of course on a much much lower budget. The director makes the best of his low budget but the script is unfortunately saddled with some cliched dialogue delivered by not the most experienced of actors. Had either budget allowed or the script benefitting from re-workings or re-writes to hone it better the film would be a lot better. Clearly Parker has demonstrated some talent here in his first feature as he has been able to create an edge to the film throughout its entire 90 minutes. Most impressive of all, and perhaps the biggest name attached to the film is the music score provided by James Dean Bradfield, lead singer of Welsh indie rock band Manic Street Preachers. Bradfield’s scoring sweeps across the soundtrack of the film and adds to the tension that Parker has already set up. Parker is certainly a director to look out for in the future.
The only extra on the disc is a featurette called ‘Beneath the Surface of The Chamber’.