Quality film news, reviews and features
21st January 2013 18:00:00
Posted by John White

Claustrofobia

DVD Video Review

The Film

2010's Buried showed what you could do with the supposed subject matter of this Dutch thriller. Confined spaces lend themselves well to cinema if you can emphasise the lack of space through clever use of awkward angles, enveloping effects and human insight driven by good writing and acting. Just think about what the end of The Vanishing achieves and, if you're anything like me, your heart is already racing.imageClaustrofobia sees pretty young thing and aspiring bad actress Eva moving home and having a drink with her neighbour. Next morning she wakes with a bad head, chained to a bed in a dark cellar. A man obscured by a uniform and gas mask, feeds her, takes a blood test and seems to be her captor. Can Eva escape, what's it all about and can she become a less crap actress?

Whilst knowing how to point a camera and being able to tell people where to stand are admirable skills, they aren't the only talents required of a film director. Bobby Boermans proves he can light a film and move actors from scene to scene, but he shows no awareness of the workings of the human race or the necessary logic levels required of a competent thriller.imageA particularly nonsensical moment in the film comes after an escape attempt by Eva is frustrated by some basic home security, the same device which magically ceases to matter when the handsome useless detective leaves minutes later. This detective is one of the least potent ever to reach the silver screen and his fate involves a piece of product placement that Apple must be regretting now.

Still, why I would find it so hard to recommend this film is the limited knowledge it shows of what human beings are and do. Schizophrenia is introduced at one point by a man in a white coat with the kind of sophistication found in medieval religions - our killer is mad you see, mad!!! The choice to make Eva an actress who develops her skills due to her experience is also a mistake as the lack of a real response or reaction from Carolien Spoor in the 90 minutes suggest that portraying someone who becomes a good actress is quite beyond her.imageSo whether you come to this flick expecting a Dutch Saw or a tense thriller, I think you'll be disappointed. The heroine is poorly drawn and performed, the baddie lacks character or veracity and, well, the only outstanding element is the quality of the detective's hair. You can safely miss Claustrofobia.

The Disc

Matchbox offer the film on a single layer region free disc with the sole extra of a trailer. The menu is rudimentary and basic and this is a slight package overall. imageThe quality of the transfer is hamstrung by interlacing, aliasing and a rather unnatural appearance. The contrast is pretty good and colours true enough but this does look very video-like. Soundwise, the sole Dutch track is offered in stereo with subtitles that occasionally falter in their English but aren't difficult to follow. It's a basic treatment that I'd suggest is a rental rather than a purchase.

Summary

Weak thriller is given a basic treatment.

Details and Specifications
DVD Video Review

Region: 0

Certificate: 15

Distributor:
Matchbox Films

Running Time:
90 mins approx
Soundtracks:
Dutch stereo 192Kbps

Subtitles:
English

Director:
Bobby Boermans

Main cast:
Carolien Spoor
Dragan Bakemar
Juliette van Ardenne
-- more --
Ratings
Film
3
Video
6
Audio
5
Extras
1
4
About John White
John lurks in the shadows of Digital Fix reviewing films meant for people half his age and twice his intellect. The madder, the stranger and the more squalid a film the more likely he is to acclaim it the Citizen Kane of its kind. Apart from looking both startled and menacing, John is a former editor of the TV section at Digital Fix, you can find his scribblings there here. John can be found on Google Plus, and on Facebook too.