I went to see Greg McLean's much hyped horror movie with the attitude that it was probably going to be yet another gritty 70's throwback that had heaps of undeserved praise thrown at it, and after viewing it, I wasn't too far off the mark.
The main problem I had with the film was that I didn't understand what McLean was trying to convey to the audience. Was he trying to show us that you can't predict how you would react in this situation, or was it that you can't escape your fate? I ask this because he had created a strong and smart female lead in the form of Cassandra McGrath's Liz, who from the moment she awoke from a drugged daze was smart and did everything correctly, despite her loyalties clouding her judgment. Hell, she was even smarter than the audience, and managed to keep her wits about her until she suddenly became the dumbest bitch ever, and stood around watching video footage in an unnecessary attempt to convey that her captor had been doing this for years, when the overabundance of props and production design had already made this blatantly obvious.
Whilst John Jarratt was quite creepy at first as the sadistic Mick, he was quickly in danger of becoming laughable thanks to his inane grin and dodgy laugh.
The film wasn't nearly as violent as I had expected it to be and the rather abrupt ending reduced the impact even more.
McLean obviously knew what he was doing when it came to establishing the surroundings and even coaxed great performances from his fine leads, but it doesn't quite hold up as well as it should have. All the ingredients were there, they just lacked cohesion.
There is one sequence where you do gasp a little and think how awful that must be if it really happened to you, but it hardly had me checking over my shoulder as I drove home.
It does stay with you but only because you're perplexed at its intentions rather than terrified or even shocked.
Comparisons to BWP were obvious and welcome as that was another over rated experiment in filmmaking, but that had more staying power.