Double Blind

Double Blind
Double Blind
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Double Blind’s timing could not be more apt in an era where science and health care distrust is at the peak. This Irish horror movie that fuelled by real-world misgivings about Big Pharma, experimental medicines and scientific ethics have made it impossible for humans acting as test rats to follow one golden rule; never fall asleep or else they will die. Although quite unlikely, Ian Hunt-Duffy with his director of photography Narayan Van Maeleand writer Darach McGarrigle however goes a step too far into people’s skins. Finally, the end product is clever and stylish not to mention uncompromisingly suspenseful.

To generate unease and terror, the title setting of the film; a secret clinical experiment whereby neither practitioner nor patient knows which treatment is administered fits perfectly. Pollyanna McIntosh’s cold character who has no name leads a small team giving mysterious medication to seven blindfolded patients who are locked up within an isolated room of a sleek medical facility established in a cold desolate place. Films confined to one location like this already contain tension as they imply right away that there is no way out for anyone involved. As such first impressions reveal lack of subtlety in entrapment but this does not change over time.

The story’s environment just like the experiment being conducted is regulated; thus the film’s director tightly controls everything even though its plot moves towards unavoidable chaos of an experiment gone awry. Initially Hunt-Duffy injects miniscule amounts of apprehension while keeping all and sundry at bearable levels of anxiety. However, Double Blind then uses these bracing moments with accelerated impact whenever it comes to body harms/horrors grievances etc . Suddenly preoccupations about what happens when trial objectives suddenly change come alive.

Double Blind succeeds in letting audiences feel for all or most of those unfortunate characters who apart from being trapped by their physical surroundings are also subject to savage capitalism. Claire (played by Millie Brady) for instance, the obvious protagonist had nowhere else to go after a recent incident with her boyfriend. Desperate med student Amir (Akshay Kumar), who has been refused at that unblinded company is now pinning all hopes on this trial as it may provide him with an internship. Then there are those who are in it for the money only especially once they hear that there will be a bonus if anyone stays through the entire experiment. Although McGarrigle’s script gives plausible motives to each person, their actions and interactions among themselves are more revealing compared to their personality traits.

Mostly, Narayan Van Maele’s vision of this former building turned fortress contributes significantly into creating a claustrophobic feel throughout this movie. Due to Double Blinds limited space, it has made use of every available opportunity provided by its small space; thus from creepy corridors filled with wealth, right down to characters’ sterile rooms; all these finally make sense for being there. Everything becomes eerie when looked at from a certain angle or under specific lighting conditions. The music score that sets off Die Hexen makes such moments feel eerier than any other time when the tense aesthetics reach maximum effectiveness inside the film.

This is not a novel film, but Hunt-Duffy and McGarrigle’s debut has enough qualities that will make it distinguishable in the long term. It is an efficiently carried out and engaging story, with fast pacing and short length. Also, most of the performances are adequate. Although Double Blind does not allay apprehensions about healthcare or the pharmaceutical business, its added energy contributes towards being a meaningful part of medical horror movie.

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