The premise is a little unsettling, though you’d think it grisly enough to attract the attention of the more fervent horror fans out there: young mum to be, Beth (Tabrett Bethell), wakes up in a bath full of ice with a newly stitched stomach and empty womb. Certainly, with news that Saw 3D is to be the last in the franchise, and Hostel 3 going straight to DVD, then I suppose we need some gruesomeness on the big screen.
Thankfully, The Clinic doesn’t focus too much on the gruesome elements, and instead goes for the fairly standard horror movie beats, with a couple of variations on familiar themes. Beth soon finds other women in her position, and together they must stay alive long enough to find their babies.
Unfortunately, there’s not much to differentiate the three other women – in fact there’s very little indication of the type of people they are at all. Even some stereotypes would have been nice, just so there was a bit more variation. Of course, in all likelihood, the victims would be in a state of shock so you wouldn’t really get an insight into their regular selves, but The Clinic has them running, jumping and climbing despite their ever-so-recent surprise surgery, so we all know that decent storytelling should outweigh realism here.
The sets are good, though perhaps the location is a little too big – they find themselves in an eerily abandoned (and humongous) abattoir – so we never really get a sense of quite how trapped they are, nor any feelings of claustrophobia, which would have been nice. The film is well shot – lower budgets work well within the horror genre, and the performances are all pitch perfect, particularly that of Elizabeth Alexander, who appears late in the piece.
The Clinic’s major pratfalls are those concerning major plot curves. We’re asked to believe that these young women would do some pretty strange things. It’s not a case of traditional forehead-slapping horror movie heroine stupidity, but their actions often don’t seem likely or remotely sensible. The strange thing is, in the long run these decisions do make sense, so it’s something that could have been ironed out in the scripting stage.
As it is, The Clinic gets across the line with the impressive final act. Up until that point, the film was a fairly by-the-numbers horror with an admittedly barbed premise.Rating: