While Ben Parker’s submarine survival thriller, The Chamber, may lack scares, it certainly has its fair share of tense moments.
Mats (Force Majeure’s Johannes Kuhnke) is captain of The Aurora, a submersible based on a ship in the Yellow Sea. When a special ops unit come calling, he’s tasked with taking Red (Charlotte Salt) and her team down to the depths of the ocean for a mysterious mission. But, when they near their destination, a rash decision causes a leak. Mats and his new passengers must work out how to make it back up to the surface in one piece.
More often than not, I prefer a supernatural explanation to something more grounded but, in this case, the straight reveal works well. It’s the steady escalation of physical obstacles and emotional stresses that keeps us engaged, rather than any spooky twists. Watching them try to solve each problem is exciting, especially as cabin fever starts to test their already spiralling interpersonal relations.
Kuhnke and Salt’s rapport is very strong and the relationship between their two characters is very much at the core of the film. Red’s arc is particularly fun to watch and she’s a good creation of Parker’s. She follows in the shoes of badass heroines like Ripley, but has her own streak of humour that really sells the character. This sense of humour is never overplayed, but Parker (making his feature debut, I may add) draws some knowing comedy from the otherwise dire situation. If anything, the realness of the humour heightens the emotional beats when they start to hit hard in the second half.
The film is also very well crafted on a technical level. Parker and his crew achieve a hell of a lot in such a cramped space. Benjamin Pritchard’s cinematography is all canted angles and close-ups, and he does a great job enhancing both the intimacy and the claustrophobia of the film.
The Chamber is a simple, but effective, contained thriller with very strong performances. It’s well worth seeking out.