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Guinea Pigs

Film One Star
The opening of Guinea Pigs had an uphill struggle for not only had there been a power cut and the film was delayed creeping into the start time of the next film, but next to me at the Edinburgh International Film Festival was a reviewer who was rustling and crunching his way through two packets of crisps eating one crisp at a time with his mouth open and not caring who heard or how loud he was. Once I could stop being distracted by this idiot it was onto the film.

I was keen for it to begin with because it starred Alex Reid, and I'm a fan. There are also a few recognisable names or perhaps faces with Chris Larkin, Steve Evets, Jack Doolan and Amit Shah, however the unknown here was the British writer and director who was making his debut in both roles with Guinea Pigs.

What's more is that this wasn't being billed as a standard horror and there was no British comedy in there either, things were looking up, in fact this sounded much more intelligent than the horror film you might have expected.

Plot.pngGuineaPigs.jpgEight volunteers arrive at a quiet and secluded site for a pharmaceutical company where they are to take part in a closed drugs trial, however as the trial gets under way the drugs begin to have some strange and terrifying effects on the participants.

TheFilm.pngThe idea for Guinea Pigs is a strong one and there are some good plot turns that offer plenty for the story to take advantage of. The whole plot seemed to be offering something a little bit fresher and interesting, and that was intriguing from the beginning - the idea of strangers coming together in a secretive drug trial and one where the subjects were unaware of what drug they were taking and what the effects were.

It also provided a strong reason to bring together a diverse group of characters, and it does manage to do that without all of them seeming the standard choices. The beginning of the film did seem to be building up to something positive although a couple of the characters did seem as though they were a little too larger than life at some moments.

While the story did offer some interesting plot turns and twists it didn't seem to really take advantage of them and squandered the chances they offered, presenting an interesting possibility that you think is going to go somewhere and then just not following through. I did find it a little annoying because it could have been a lot more than it was. After all that was offered to the film it did seem to then start to turn towards the more expected concerning the characters and their decisions.

The film suffered from one of the most common problems of these stories where people are in a location and being terrorised, why don't they just leave? There were a number of opportunities and at a few points the story seemed to take them right up to that point but turn them away without a solid enough reason to dissuade them from the escape. It didn't seem insurmountable for them to leave especially considering how dangerous the location they were in was.

There were a number of times throughout the film where I was equally confused about character decisions such as how they made the decision about who was in control before they actually got their hands on the paperwork that told them, not to even question why it mattered to anyone anyway. I found myself continually frustrated at these strange moments in the script and it led to a good number of moments where I just couldn't believe the character choices or understand them.

To add to this the action sequences were often too closely cropped, shaky and blurred or dark to make out what was happening and there were a few scenes where I was struggling to understand what I had seen and what it meant. To be fair though by this point the film was really starting to lose me and it failed to keep a hold of my interest as it had at the opening.

The horror side of the film was okay but as the film progressed it did became more and more as expected with no real surprises on offer.

Overall.pngI was disappointed with Guinea Pigs especially as it seemed to offer so much from the write-up in the Edinburgh International Film Festival guide and the opening moments. Unfortunately though the film falls to stock choices, confusing character decisions and a disappointing plot that lets opportunities pass it by time and time again.

Of course Alex Reid is in it and it's a strong idea that is decently filmed, but it was poorly handled and didn't manage to deliver what it had promised at the beginning of the film with the hook of the story.

More on Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012 on Filmstalker
More on other Festivals on Filmstalker
Edinburgh International Film Festival Official Site
UK IMDB Film Details



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