“Basement” X-media Release

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:39

Danny Dyer (“Severance”, “Doghouse”) stars in this new British horror film, which is being released near-simultaneously across all media. Dyer plays Gary, a disillusioned anti-war protester who bizarrely finds himself locked in a terrifying underground bunker along with some fellow demonstrators. As annoyance quickly turns to desperation, it is not long before tempers fray and bitter accusations fly between the group members.

Friendships start to crumble, people mysteriously disappear and disturbing noises suggest they are not alone. What was or is the purpose of the labyrinthine tunnel network? Who has locked them in and why?  And does someone in the group know more about their predicament that they are letting on? The group must get to the bottom of these questions and escape before their time runs out. Writer-director Asham Kamboj’s premise a group of people being trapped in a maze with an unseen threat is not exactly original.

Basement gets a cross-media releaseHowever, the connection between the anti-war demonstrations and the bunker is an intriguing one, and it sets the film up well. Unfortunately, as in the film, things quickly unravel and leave the viewer frustrated that more was not done with the concept.

The first problem is that the dungeon is poorly lit and very bland to look at for the hour or so that the cast are stuck in it. Half the time we can barely see what is happening, which ironically is not really much of a problem because nothing much is going on. Characters walk up and down filthy, dank concrete corridors shouting out their friends’ names or having petty arguments. The novelty of the setting wears off in minutes and becomes just as much of a chore for us as it does for them.

In the few moments when the action actually heats up, it is nearly impossible to tell what is occurring and to whom, even with the TV’s brightness turned right up. Perhaps the Blu-ray version has better contrast and clarity; the DVD edition’s picture quality is extremely ill-defined.

The second major problem is that the characters and dialogue are depressingly dull and one-dimensional. The small number of interesting dramatic plot developments are surrounded by pages of banality. You will probably find yourself wishing the characters would either hurry up and find the exit, or else die quickly! The acting ranges from poor to average, with Dyer being a particular disappointment after his highs in recent genre hits. Without his blokey, devil-may-care charisma, he is an empty vessel, and a grating one at that. Sadly, the rest of the cast, which includes quality talent like Jimi Mistry (“2012”, “East is East”) also fail to make the most of a poor script.

As for the threat in the tunnels, we keep catching first-person glimpses of someone or something stalking the captives. These moments, which are always introduced by a sudden “Predator”-style electronic whoosh noise, are shot as though we are looking through a pair of night-vision goggles, and accompanied by slightly heavy breathing. The trouble is that this “hunter” footage never feels as though it is shot in the same context as the rest of the film. The corridors that the unseen pursuer traverses are always empty, so we do not feel any tension or tangible threat. This sense of disconnection could have been avoided if the director had managed to convey that the hunter was closing in on its prey. What we end up with is the impression that the victims and hunter or hunters are equally directionless in their wandering!

After all of those negative comments, I am glad to report that the film does summon some auditory atmosphere, thanks to the effective ambient sound effects and occasional pumping music (composed by Kamboj). Although typical of the genre, the mixing of clanking, dripping water, howling wind and unnatural cries is competently done. It is a shame the visuals are not of a similar standard, though. “Basement” is Kamboj’s first feature film, and he will hopefully hone his craft and come back fighting next time. As for this unsatisfactory effort, I fear that it may soon find its way into the retail bargain basement.

Special features on the DVD include behind the scenes footage plus on-set interviews with Danny Dyer, Kierston Wareing, Jimi Mistry, Lois Winstone, Emily Beecham, Soraya Radford, Asham Kamboj and Bobbi Kandola. These extras were unavailable at the time of the review.

Basement (2010) is released in selected cinemas and on digital download on 20th August, and on DVD and Blu-ray three days later, courtesy of Revolver Entertainment. The running time of the main feature is a slight 74 minutes approx, certificate ‘15’ and the movie retails for £14.99 on DVD, £15.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com.

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

denizli escort denizli escort