confines_1Year: 2015
Director: Eytan Rockaway
Writer(s): Ido Fluk
Region of Origin: US
Rating: N/A
Digital, Color, 86 mins

Synopsis: A claustrophobic thriller that follows a troubled young woman in a last-ditch effort at getting her life together. (Source)

When it boils down to it, nothing is more terrifying than the human mind. What our brains are capable of imagining is far more frightening than any monster or creature that can be put on the screen. Eytan Rockaway’s film The Confines messes with its audience, getting them to question what is real and what is not. The story strives for greatness, landing just shy of its goal, but still delivers some strong performances and compelling visuals.

The story centers around Julia Streak (Louisa Krause), a single mother who attempts to turn her life around as a night watchman in an abandoned apartment building. With its sprawling marble floors and luxurious grandeur, the building itself is every bit as eerie as you’d come to expect from these types of films. Her co-worker for the evening is Cooper (Jason Patric), an experienced guard who is upset that another replacement brings a night of chaos. Strange voices, a locked doorway and Streak’s psychological issues slowly bubble up to the surface in a battle for her to determine what’s real, fake, and who the enemy they’re fighting is.

A strong performance by Patric as Cooper is the foundation that gets us from point A to B. His performance is never over the top or too under the radar. He’s got a character that’s extremely dynamic in that his tough exterior shields a likable everyman who’s just trying to make it through another night without incident. Krause’s Julia is a counterpoint who transforms with the plot’s chaos, leading their characters careening into a field of horror tropes replete with dark hallways and lost isolation in cavernous spaces.

confines_3If there’s a fault in the film, it’s that the final reveal isn’t strong enough to create an impact due to the deliberately misleading elements that came before. When the third act does finally reach its resolution the result is more baffling than it is satisfying, which may have to do with the film’s unseen enemy. The insidious force at play is a bit too undefined, which left me feeling a bit deflated.

The Confines offers a promising start that doesn’t quite hit its lofty goals. Mostly strong performances from its two leads, amazing set design, and atmospheric cinematography (hats off to cinematographer Zachary Galler) create an exercise in suspense that is striking, but may not leave a lasting impression.