With an optional introduction from director James Eaves, Bane begins with a sequence that introduces the audience to the film’s central characters. Displaying their traits in the space of a few minutes, the film’s introduction reeks of promise and intrigue. The four women, waking to find themselves held in a mysterious cell with no memory of themselves or each other, are then put to a merciless string of confusing tests that they are promised will prove to be beneficial.
The paranoia present in this low budget horror is highlighted by the edgy stuttered visuals and the raspy breath of its key players. Despite its intriguing opening the film begins to falter, easing itself into a clichéd mess littered with stereotypes, dodgy ‘dos and glasses as well as some suspect acting. Don’t let its boasting of having won awards fool you (having won Best Horror Feature at LA’s Shriekfest) – the film feels like an extended short, with its middle losing coherency and pace as a result.
Discovering that they are being held at a testing facility, the women are soon subjected to harsh visuals and fearful images that, they are promised, will aid in the experimentation process. Threatened with the prospect of losing their eyes if they do not conform, we’re teased by the film, it daring us to look away. Unfortunately its a vague threat that packs no real punch and you may find yourself actually finding it hard to keep your eyes on the screen.
Answers are few and far between. Instead we are presented with the onslaught of a reappearing masked surgeon who marks his victims with their estimated time of death before reappearing to stab them, rather shoddily, to their premature deaths. The tension is hit and miss whilst the group’s internal frictions are over-done. The film does well to blur the gap between nightmares and reality but the flashbacks Katherine entertains are left poorly explained until the film’s finale where we are given a hurried explanation for the film’s events, robbing the film of the pace it so badly requires. As a result you may find yourself emotionally unattached to any of the characters, one of whom believes getting rid of the incessantly ticking clock will rid the group of their problems.
Although not wholly a bad effort the loopholes and inconsistencies that litter the film detract from what could have been. Just how the girls don’t wake amidst the regular visits of the surgeon and their fellow prisoners’ cries for help is a little beyond us whilst the relationships formed are superficial and sometimes unconvincing. When Natasha says ‘I’m sick of this’ (a rather obvious aside, her predicament not exactly being a barrel of laughs) you may find yourself joining her in her disdain.
An ambitious effort that falls short of being an inspiring watch, Bane will amuse fans of the the horror genre.