The Horror Zine Review
A Film by James Eaves
Director: James Eaves
A Film by James Eaves
Review by Jeani Rector
Despite being a low-budget Indie film, Bane doesn't have the feel of one. This film comes across the screen as professionally as though it were right out of Hollywood. Bane got my attention immediately because it begins with action, and maintains a high level of suspense throughout its 120-minute run time. And even better, it gives nothing away at first so it is a very absorbing and horrific mystery.
In some ways, this film resembles a cross between Saw and A Clockwork Orange, but only superficially. In reality, Bane is its own film; original, unique, and irresistible. This film dedicates itself to the true meaning of horror....fear. It has a combination of surreal and real horror.
Bane begins with four women who are brought into some sort of hospital/bunker and are all given injections that strip them of all memory. The only way they even know who they are is by a wristband that has their name printed on it. The women are locked in a menacing-looking room by themselves (similar to Saw but without the shackles). No clues are given the to viewer as to why this is occurring, but I was sucked into the mystery very willingly.
Then at night, an intruder-surgeon sneaks into the room to mark a number on the women. I am under the impression that all of the women must have been drugged at night which is why they didn't wake up, because the surgeon didn't exactly use a felt pen to mark the number. He carved it into the women's skin. The number turns out to be the time that the women are scheduled to die. The large and noisy clock on the wall adds to the tension.
About half-way through, Bane takes a surprising twist and moves from horror into sci-fi. This twist is effective to explain the reasons why these four women were chosen for the experiments and leads to a very unexpected and satisfying ending.
The acting from all characters is superb. Dr. Murdock, the scientist/doctor (played by Daniel Jordan), is effectively creepy and scary. He is very convincing in his role as someone to be feared while he performs experiments on his "test" subjects. And the women are forced to watch horrible things (hence the similarity to A Clockwork Orange) while Dr. Murdock monitors their brain waves.
Despite the fine acting of Jordan, it is the women in Bane who steal the show. There are four: Katherine (played by Sophia Dawnay), Natasha (played by Tina Barnes), Jane (played by Lisa Devlin), and Elaine (played by Sylvia Robson). Each woman has her own personality, her own strengths and weaknesses. All four women play their roles with incredible talent. There are actors in Hollywood today who are lesser talents, but who star in block-buster movies. I am scratching my head as to why all four of the women in Bane are not incredibly famous, because they should be.
Katherine is the level-headed one, Jane is the brainy one, Natasha is the angry one, and then we have poor Elaine who is the timid, fearful one who falls apart. The character development in Bane is well done, and all of the women add something important to the film. Robson's role as Elaine is especially noteworthy, because I found myself not liking her character, and that means she has the most convincing portrayal of all because I felt like reaching into the TV and slapping her.
Another noteworthy (pun intended) thing worth mentioning is the musical score. Music by Ronnie Doyle, Dan Cullen, and Deryn Cullen rev up the tension by being placed into the film at just the right moments.
Bane certainly has its share of gore, and lots of bloodshed. The director sent me a small coloring book along with the DVD, and it contained one single crayon: the color red.
I have to wonder if there is a political statement in this film about women being dominated and brutalized by men. Or perhaps that sort of thing is has become common in horror films in general. Still, I think that Bane avoids the stereotype because except for Elaine, the female characters in this film are strong women, especially Katherine. So what begins as brutality against four women ends with one of the women fighting back and winning, even if that victory doesn't bring her happiness.
All in all, Bane has it all: great character development, a mystery which gets solved, lots of exciting tension and suspense, and a very unexpected ending that I didn't see coming.
I have seen other reviews of Bane that are not nearly as enthusiastic about this film as I am. Some reviewers don't like this film at all. But in all honesty, I like it a lot, and I mean a real lot. I feel it works on every level. In fact, Bane won "Best Feature Film" at the Shriekfest Film Festival the year before it went into its DVD format.
Either way, I encourage you to see this film to decide for yourself.
See the movie here:
About the Filmmaker
He studied film at the Southampton Institute and on leaving, set up a company to make genre films (horror to start with). Influences? Hmmm, the obvious ones... Spielberg, Hitchcock, De Palma... maybe comic books and cartoons, all sorts really. James ended up making mostly horror films but he wouldn't classify himself as a pure horror buff. He tries to make the films we want to watch!
About the Reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, All Destiny, and many others. Her book Around a Dark Corner was released in the USA on Graveyard Press in 2009.