The Chamber review: Features impressive performances from all involved, this is a tense and, at times, traumatic tale of the need to survive against all odds.
The Chamber review by Kat Hughes, Frightfest 2016.
A special ops unit commandeer a commercial research vessel and it’s submersible, The Aurora. Captain Matz (Johannes Kuhnke) is strong-armed into helping the trio as they try to locate a mysterious item at the bottom of the Yellow Sea. Tensions are fraught between Matz and the team, headed by Edwards (Charlotte Salt), as it is unveiled that the team have an ulterior motive for being on-board. Then the sub overturns and the four have to work together to devise a plan to get out, but will they all make it?
A feature debut for director Ben Parker, The Chamber is a claustrophobic character-driven thriller. Directed with a deftness and maturity of a seasoned filmmaker, it’s oh so easy to forget that this is Parker’s first time in the big chair. The small setting is made to feel smaller still as the camera is kept tight to the cast. It’s perpetually in motion, subconsciously making it feel like you are inside the Aurora with them. The idea for the film came from Parker’s own fear of enclosed spaces and he’s definitely managed to transfer that emotion into the picture.
The cinematography is stunning; the sub is lit with blue hues which emphasise the sea setting. The sound design is also impressive and effective, just make sure to visit the bathroom before viewing.
The Chamber boasts an impressively talented cast and all get their time to shine. That being said, this is Kuhnke and Salt’s story. When Matz and Edwards first meet there is a lot of anger and resentment, as the narrative progresses this morphs into something more. It’s a great journey, with both having interesting story arcs that in many ways deviate from film norms. Matz is a very different movie hero and Edwards is a brilliant imaging of the action female.
The Chamber has a tightly written script that also manages to generate humour in some unexpected areas – a floating corpse being one of them. It’s these instances of humour that add to the realism and only intensify the horror.
Buoyed by impressive performances from all involved, this is a tense and, at times, traumatic tale of the need to survive against all odds.
The Chamber forms part of this year’s Frightfest programme.