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March 27, 2012

Movie Review: Bane (2009)

Directed by James Eaves
Starring Sophia Dawnay, Lisa Devlin and Jonethan Sidgwick

Bane opens with four women being forced into a chair and drugged against their will. They soon awaken in a visqueen covered cage with no memory of how they got there or even who they are. Character-wise, they've got the bases covered, there's the whimpering basketcase, the mousy maternal glasses-wearing character, the tough-girl, and the hot but stoic blonde.

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They soon realize that for reasons unknown, they have been chosen for a gruesome experiment. As time passes, each woman faces agonizing fear and pain at the hands of Dr. Murdoch and his crew fearsome masked assistants, clad in bloody butchers aprons and long rubber gloves. One by one they find they have been attacked during the night, the ghouls using a butcher knife to carve numbers into their bodies. Those numbers corresponding to the time on the clock when they will be butchered and killed. As our unfortunate four turn into three and then two, they become frantic in their search for answers to the mystery of their plight and determined in their need for escape. After about an hour and a half and about 200 gallons of blood later, they discover the horrifying truth behind their incarceration and misery. In a frantic escape attempt our blonde heroine stumbles across an alien monster locked up in an adjacent cell and frees it in the hopes of using it as a diversion, and it is soon after this that she realizes the true scope of the situation. Apparently, the Earth has been invaded by a vicious alien species bent on complete control of the human race. The humans were lucky enough to capture one of the aliens and the girls had in fact volunteered to be used as test subjects in a plan to develop a weapon using the human fear emotion as ammunition. Pretty wacky stuff.

It's not too often that you watch a torture-porn movie that suddenly jumps into a science-fiction/monster movie three quarters of the way in. In its own low budget way it mimics the style of the French horror sensation Martyrs (minus the budget and high-end effects). So director Eaves should be given credit for at least making an attempt at thinking outside the torture-porn box. And I do think it scores points for attempting to put a new twist on an ever-tiresome theme, girls being locked up and tortured for the pure sake of torture. Now their being tortured for the good of mankind. And as much as I hate to admit it, the violent scenes are well executed, with a frenetic feel to them and the blood (although a bit watered down and a little too orange-colored) does flow freely and by the bucket-full.

The murderous assistants in their bloody butchers aprons are quite menacing and have a nightmarish feel to them due to the fact that they often move with cheetah-like speed when attacking. One small gripe I had was never getting a really good look at the alien creature, he is only seen in dimly-lit rooms and usually in silhouette. I am sure it had claws and tentacles and large black eyes though, and did a good job of crushing the head of a killer assistant like a grape near the end of the movie. And yes, the sets were lackluster and sparse but I thought they conveyed a good sense of claustrophobia. At two hours, it was a bit on the long side for a horror movie but I never got bored watching it. Bane is a low-budget movie that aims pretty high, and for the most part it manages to rise slightly above the rest of the torture-porn sludge that's out there. If you liked Martyrs, you just might like Bane. And although not nearly on the same production level, it's in the same ballpark.

6 out of 10 Reviewed by KennyB

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