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Monday, February 12, 2024

‘Double Blind’ Review – Medical Horror Delivers Potent Cocktail of Suspense and Style

With mistrust in science and healthcare being so out of hand these days, the timing of Double Blind couldn’t be better. Real-world misgivings about Big Pharma, experimental medicines, and scientific ethics fuel this Irish horror movie where human lab-rats must follow one important rule: don’t fall asleep. Otherwise they will die. The concept is improbable, but director Ian Hunt-Duffy and writer Darach McGarrigle go that extra mile when getting under people’s skin. The end product is both clever and stylish, not to mention unrelentingly suspenseful.

The movie’s titular setting — a hush-hush clinical trial where neither the participant nor the experimenter know who is receiving a certain treatment — is ideal for creating unease and terror. The seven unaware test subjects are locked away in a cold and secluded facility, then fed mysterious drugs by a small staff led by Pollyanna McIntosh’s impersonal character. One-location stories like this have an advantage over others; they imply early on that there is no escape for the characters. The sense of entrapment here is not too subtle upon first sight, yet how the movie follows through is organic. 

Similar to the experiment at hand, the story’s environment is controlled; the movie’s director keeps a relatively tight leash on everything even as the clinical trial edges toward the inevitable chaos. At first Hunt-Duffy dispenses dread in small yet potent doses, thus keeping everything and everyone at a detectable but tolerable level of discomfort. Then for more fast-acting disturbances, Double Blind delivers these bracing moments of bodily harms and horrors. Concerns about the trial’s sudden shift in objective are soon viscerally validated.

Double Blind is successful at getting audiences to identify with all or most of these unlucky characters, who are being held captive by not only their physical surroundings but also harsh capitalism. The foreseeable protagonist, Claire (played by Millie Brady), had nowhere to turn after a recent fallout with a loved one. Desperate med student Amir (Akshay Kumar) was rejected by the company conducting the double-blind, and he now hopes this trial will give him a better shot at an internship. Then there are the others who simply want the money, especially once a bonus is offered to anyone who stays for the whole experiment. McGarrigle’s script paints plausible motives for everyone, although the characters’ actions and dynamics with one another are more interesting than their actual personalities.

Director of photography Narayan Van Maele’s vision for this facility-turned-fortress is largely responsible for the movie’s claustrophobic atmosphere. From a wealth of creepy corridors to the menacing minimalism of the characters’ sterile confines, Double Blind makes good use of its small locale. Everything, when angled a certain way or put under the right light, is eventually unnerving. Whenever the tense aesthetic is then paired with Die Hexen’s disquieting score, the movie reaches maximum effectiveness.

This is not a novel movie, however, Hunt-Duffy and McGarrigle’s feature debut has enough going for it that will help it stand out in the long run. The well executed and entertaining story benefits from quick pacing as well as an economical runtime. Also, the performances are, for the most part, capable. Double Blind will do little to assuage anxiety about healthcare and the drug industry, but the extra effort put into its creation makes for a worthwhile slice of medical horror.

Double Blind is out in select theaters now and will be released on Digital on February 13.

3 skulls out of 5

double blind

Pictured: Double Blind poster courtesy of Epic Pictures.

The post ‘Double Blind’ Review – Medical Horror Delivers Potent Cocktail of Suspense and Style appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3799423/double-blind-review-medical-horror-delivers-potent-cocktail-of-suspense-and-style/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=double-blind-review-medical-horror-delivers-potent-cocktail-of-suspense-and-style

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