Home invasion movies have a long and fruitful history in cinema, and in many forms. From the comedy of Home Alone to the horror of exploitation films such as The Last House on the Left or Straw Dogs, they are still present today as can be seen by the recent release of The Purge. Unfortunately, despite its effectively chilling past, it’s all too easy to get these films wrong, and sadly this is the case in Confine, which can only be seen as a weak addition to the usually harrowing genre.
Whilst the narrative of these films never varies hugely, the set-up is often the most important element in setting the mood for what is to follow, and Confine begins in a way that has the potential for a strong film. Pippa (Dasiy Lowe), a model who for the last four years has been unable to go outside following a car accident that left her more than just physically scarred, lives a life literally confined to her flat. Working from home whilst checking all the doors and windows are secured, this sheltered existence is destroyed by the arrival of Kayleigh (Eliza Bennett), a psychotic burglar seeking refuge after a botched robbery.
To those who are unaware, Daisy Lowe usually plies her trade as a model, with Confine being her first lead acting role. As if to reinforce this fact, an opening montage using real photos to set up her character as a model does add a level of authenticity, however little else is done to make her character anything more. Using a walking stick and sporting a set of facial scars, Pippa’s life seems all but defined as one of a victim, never leaving her home and quietly stalking the corridors of her plush flat. Sadly, when Kayleigh lets herself into the flat, the odd sequence of cat and mouse lacks any of the threat or suspense that such a situation would undoubtedly cause to a character like Pippa. The same can be said of their first meeting, which is poorly staged to say the least. Throughout the film, Lowe seems incapable of showing almost any change in her character, who is strangely calm, almost docile, throughout and lacks any of the panic that makes home invasion film so tense.
This is made all the more obvious by Tobias Tobbell’s direction, which sorely misses any of the claustrophobia needed to make the narrative anything more than just a little uncomfortable. This is partly due to the oversized flat in which Pippa resides, a hugely lavish set of rooms screaming of new money, serving to block any of confined space that the film’s title suggests.
This is not to say that the film does not have some merit, which comes in the form of Eliza Bennett, charged with playing the unstable invader Kayleigh. There is some interesting characterisation here, with Kayleigh being oddly cheerful and light-hearted whilst she commits violent acts against Pippa and the hapless Henry, played by Alfie Allen who appears to be making a career out of characters who get violently mutilated. The threat of violence is effectively portrayed by the light and shade of Bennett’s performance, although it does serve to emphasise just how little there is to engage with in the rest of the film’s performances. Both lead characters are clearly damaged women, but it’s hard to take an interest in both due to the unconvincing abilities of Bennett’s onscreen counterpart.
As the film moves further forward, several odd plot contrivances result in less and less interest, and with a climax that gains more dramatic effect from its soundtrack than what is being seen, Confine is an altogether purposeless attempt at the fear that films of its type usually inspire.