I know someone who once tested a new heart medication in a clinical trial. Let’s just say he was glad he packed extra pants. The Facility (aka Guinea Pigs) is simply a movie about human guinea pigs turning into crazed lunatics. Great concept as drug trials are not something to be toyed with, however, it lacks in presenting anything fresh.
The Facility is a slow moving tale of seven volunteers at a remote drug testing facility. They have signed up for a trial of Pro9 – a drug that, ultimately, mimics the rage infection depicted in the movie 28 Days Later. As with most drug studies, there is a control group which remain immune to this rage sickness, and keep the little momentum there is to the story going. Many techniques are relied upon to tell the story which is everything from surveillance cameras, to shifty camera movements, to darkness that can only be cut through by use of a digital camera’s flash – a flash which easily turns into a strobe effect when a chase ensues. While the filmmakers’ techniques show ambition in the way the story is told, the story itself is anything but.
Even with a steady and moderate amount of gore, and a few whacked out patients, The Facility lacks the little bit of oomph it needs to make it a thoroughly satisfying film. The desire to have the control group survive until the end is also not solidly present. There is not enough character development for the viewer to care about why these people are doing the trial and if they will survive. Interesting is the fact there is no score, and silence dominates scenes which normally would take a few dramatic notes to give scares an extra kick. Most odd is the way the film tries to present itself as a true story with narrative title cards and time stamps. It is confusing as it isn’t found footage nor is it documentary style. The use of these elements doesn’t benefit the film at all, however, they are present.
The concept isn’t new, as this type of story has been told in film for years (see Romero’s The Crazies for instance). Yet, the film does have a more unique setting, confining it to the study facility alone. Even still, with a slow pace and little emotion being evoked, The Facility is reduced to a mild medical thriller.
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