Currently available projects: The Clinic on DVD/Blu-ray & Legend of the Seeker in re-runs

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Clinic - Reviews

There are already a lot of reviews online, hopefully there will be even more after the film's release in Europe and the US, I'll keep updating this post too. After the jump you'll find links to the reviews and some quotes, and also a short review frome me.

My review will be posted here or in a different post soon.

Reviews from online magazines and blogs:
Bloody Disgusting (warning, lots of spoilers):
"Just when I thought I’d had enough of “let’s tie a woman up and do stuff to her” movies, along comes The Clinic, which gives the sub-genre a breath of fresh air, thanks to a unique scenario, a decent twist, and way above average technical and acting qualities.
It’s a shame actor Andy Whitfield is currently battling cancer (I look forward to his full recovery!), because in a perfect world he would not only be healthy, but also be getting the roles Sam Worthington gets. They have a similar shape and look, but the difference is, Whitfield is actually interesting to watch, and capable of making a compelling character. He doesn’t get much to do, since the focus is primarily on the mother (the equally impressive Tabrett Bethell), but he gets a number of good moments.
Whitfield makes for an enjoyable man on a mission.
The movie also has one of the best “Oh shit...” scares in recent memory.
My last two notes say “Walken” and “Music”. Walken refers to the fact that the clinic’s handicapped janitor sounds like Christopher Walken. And I always write “music” when I like the music, but I don’t know why, because there’s not much to say about it. I liked the music.
Score: 8 / 10

"The Clinic takes its place alongside Inside and Grace in a recent vogue of memorable motherhood-as-the-ultimate-nightmare flicks."

Horror News:
"James Rabbitts’s film The Clinic defies any true aspect of the horror genre since it mixes so many of them together into a nice little cocktail of an Australian import. The story behind The Clinic takes aspects from a lot of the current trend of “survival splatter” horror films, yet it also throws in a large part of the “slasher” sub genre and even some emotional terror are all mixed together for a film that belongs on any fan of modern horrors shelf.
Beth’s situation isn’t any better however when she suddenly wakes up in a bathtub full of ice and the wound from a back alley c-section on her stomach in what could be one of the truly most horrific scenes I have seen in quite some time.
All in all James Rabbitts's The Clinic is definitely worth checking out, its got touchy subject matter, a great cast, some great gore gags (including a very wince inducing surgery scene) and a finale that will cause your jaw to drop….give this little import a try, you wont be disappointed.

"The Clinic – 2010 Australia Births Yet Another Intriguing Horror

The film takes great advantage of its simple yet labyrinth-like setting. Its multitude of corridors, animal pens and surgically cold rooms all conspire toward creating a genuine stage of futility and impending loss. The actors here are impressive, with Tabrett Bethell (Legend of the Seeker) of particular note. She works well at exhibiting just the right balance of empathy within her unrelenting resolve. Unlike many characters that find themselves in the same brand of predicament, we want her to succeed.
The Clinic finishes out as a cut above the usual and arrives primed with keenly crafted sequences that play imaginatively with the narrative's faceless stalking doom. Purists will no doubt pick holes in the film's fractured credibility but with this being director James Rabbitts’ very first feature, it is nonetheless a job very well done.

"There is seemingly no end to the talent pool coming out of the Australian new-wave now: The Horsemen, The Loved Ones, Animal Kingdom, to name a few. James Rabbitts has entered this scene with a different kind of survival-horror film. It’s like if Wolf Creek met a game of death with watched contestants, and then they threw in some babies. Scratching your head, yet?
The movie is very easy to watch due mainly to the production values and the great actors led by the central performance by Tabrett Bethell. She is quite the beauty and has the acting chops that could make her a star. Also, the death scenes are very well executed and somewhat unique at times. The main flaw of the movie is the incredulous leap you have to make with your brain to accept the revelation of the ongoing mystery, as well as the insane twist that follows. Some people will curse the movie calling bullshit here, and others may bite, line and sinker, and think it’s a brilliant idea. I’m taking the middle road and saying if Butler and VCU can make the Final Four, maybe anything CAN happen.

Rating: 6/10"

Entertainment Film News:
"Definitely among one of the best horror films this year, this Australian import from filmmaker James Rabbits starts out like any other road movie until their car is ran off the road. What follows is a nightmare for the expecting couple played by Tabrett Bethell and Andy Whitfield. There are some real hair raising tense moments and terrificly composed scenarios that proves so disturbingly original that one cannot help but to sit back relax and enjoy this rough ride. A must see film. Seek it out!"
About Tabrett's performance:
"dominating the screen, was a confident and fearless performance by Tabrett Bethell"
<- Their best rating!

"The Clinic is an utterly horrifying movie that is inspired by true events of a young woman and her fiancé isolated and starring in their own nightmare.
This psychological thriller is surprisingly unpredictable and an amazing showcase of Australian talent. The Clinic will have audiences on the edge of their seats guessing what is next in this weirdly scary and interesting take on a woman's worst nightmare.
" 3*

"The Clinic will definitely have your eyes a-goggle and possibly, if you're a wimp like me, asking for a sick bucket.
This psychological horror flick is Australian writer-director James Rabbitts' first feature film, and while it get offs to a slow start, by the end you'll be gripping the edge of your seat.
The Clinic increases pace as it moves along, with twists and turns galore, until there's something to make you jump or squirm around most corners. The disturbing plot is every woman's’ very worst nightmare yet it will be unsettling for the male viewer too.
Shot in Deniliquin, NSW, this low budget movie is impressively made, with great visual effects and clever camera work, which heightens the tension and adds atmosphere to the scary scenes. You know you're in for a hair-raising ride from the opening sequence, with shots of meat hooks and eerie strings music.
For people with a penchant for blood and guts, this is the perfect film for you. For those a little more sensitive, watch with caution! Some scenes are stomach- churning. Fair play to James Rabbitts for using his debut into the world of film to make something strong, gritty and emotionally stimulating.

"While the film begins innocently enough with a couple checking into a motel, it quickly turns into a slow-burning thriller with very few boring moments. Throughout the movie, we are treated to some very nice sets. Actually, the entire film had pretty high production value. The cast even delivers pretty solid performances all the way around as well.
For fear of spoiling much of what The Clinic offers, I do not want to get too deep into the film, but if you have the chance to view this movie, I would suggest that you do. While it will not make any top ten lists, I found the movie to be a fine way to spend an evening.

"‘The Clinic’ is good cinema with a few technical glitches that can be overlooked. The movie is set some time around 1979, a few years before DNA testing came into existence. It shows the Darwinian survival of the fittest.
The journey is riveting with a weak Beth who battles odds and weakness to find her baby and freedom. The story is a mixture of thriller, fiction, and facts. It’s filled with suspense and realistic details and a climactic twist.
Tabrett, I believe had too much Cara in her and this feistiness shows time and again in the character Beth who transforms into a leader. I just wonder why this actress does not work more. She is Australian but so are Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. Also her high pitched playful voice and indecisiveness towards the beginning of the movie transforms as her character becomes more serious after becoming a Mom. So ‘The Clinic’ is also the study of maternal instinct and mental transformation of a woman.
" (warning, they spoil the film right at the beginning of the review):
"The Clinic is a low budget horror cum slasher film from Australia that has the potential to become another late night cult favourite.
former cheerleader Bethell, in her first leading role, does well with her physically demanding role. Her strong performance carries the film.

Film Critics United (warning, lots of spoilers):
"Writer / Director James Rabbits film ‘The Clinic’ isn’t a bad watch at all. It’s a bit out there concept wise and it does tend to stretch the levels of believability to near breaking points on occasion… if not on ALL occasions, but ultimately we found it to be a pretty decent thriller.
Rabbits gives us a film that is deliberate and methodically paced, Tabrett Bethell made for a very athletic and spunky heroine even though her hair style was more 2010 than 1979.
Truly ‘The Clinic’ isn’t without its issues and if you can’t side-skirt these issues I completely understand, however we here at the FCU appreciated the consistency of this exercise and were able to squeeze out a healthy amount of tense, taut, entertainment value in the process. Get well Andy Whitfield.

"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.
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.
" 3*

"The Clinic was an above average thriller that dissolves towards the concluding chapters, but is propelled by competent acting in all leads to keep viewers interested. Anyone with a child might have a stronger attachment to the frustrating plight of the mothers in their struggle but the threat is real and the idea that women can be kidnapped and forced to give up their child is something of incredible repulsion.
in terms of rating The Clinic amongst its peers, the movie is a better than average thriller that works on more levels that it fails. This was writer/director James Rabbitts’ first feature film and there is enough tone and competent work behind the camera to suggest that he has some real talent for the genre.

The Clinic might not scare the hell out of anyone, but the blood, pain and confusion that is faced by all those involved in the story makes for some interesting entertainment.
" 3/5

"Ozploitation is alive and well in this excellent thriller by James Rabbits

The Clinic is set in 1979 and looks like it was shoot in the 1970s, at the height of ozploitation. There's that whole feeling to things that would readily have you believe the crew from say Razorback finished that movie and then started shooting The Clinic. And no I'm not just talking T&A here, it's the whole look and feel. Director/Writer Rabbits has gone retro on us and it's working like a brought one. Of course this may not work for those who have an issue with the whole ozploitation thing, but then they should frack off to the foreign movie section and leave the rest of us in peace.
Okay so besides the odd plot issue, and hey have you ever seen a horror flick without the odd blemish in that regard, Rabbits is delivering one hell of a horror ride that sort of works like a grab bag of things to get you feeling uneasy. Besides the whole c-section thing, and that's pretty nasty when you think about it, there's what appears to be a deranged killer on the loose, vicious dogs, whoever is watching our gradually declining number of moms, and of course the requisite mentally challenged dude that backwoods movies tend to have. Rabbits has his bases covered when it comes to getting things juiced on the dark genre front and doesn't pull back on going down different paths to keep things rocking along.
One of the things I really dug about the movie is that we pretty much have an all female cast, makes a change from dudes making stupid decisions or being all macho and shite. The guy who we all think is going to resolve things is about as much good as Ridley Scott's Dallas when the metal hits the flesh, and it's up to Beth and her new found friends to work things out and survive till they can strike back in some form or other. Trying to be purposely vague here to avoid spoilers. Tabrett Bethell (Beth) leads a female cast that is up for the job, and I was sweating on every decision with them. Ultimately the game isn't what we think it is and Beth has the necessary hardness to get through to face the final disclosures. It's great stuff and I had my fingers crossed that Beth would make it to the final credits.
I was impressed with Rabbits behind the camera, he has the whole 1970s thing happening for him, and has each scene on a leash. Overall The Clinic is well constructed with the attention to detail ensuring we don't suddenly find ourselves outside the movie's time frame.
Good old fashion ozploitation flick, two thumbs up, and recommended to audiences. Rabbits doesn't rely on gore or torture, but manages to present a movie simply brimming with intent and intelligence. The ending was slightly naff, too many coincidences for mine, but what the heck as a first movie it demonstrates a Director/Writer that knows exactly what tiger he has by the tail. Go grab a screening of the movie, you are going to have yourself a good time.

Los Angeles Review News:
"I have to admit that I was not expecting "The Clinic" to be a good film. It initially starts with a predictable story about a man (Andy Whitfield) and his pregnant girlfriend (Tabrett Bethell) stopping in a seedy motel in the middle of nowhere only to find that the manager at the motel is part of a diabolical conspiracy. It seems a little clichĂ©’ and fantastic but "The Clinic" does pay off if you can suspend disbelief and watch the story unravel.
The film intentionally moves slowly, which is not good for a generation raised on fast editing, but is well worth the wait if you can be patient.
The Clinic is a well-crafted creepy film that has some interesting twists and turns worth sticking around to watch.
I really appreciate having a story instead of mindless slaughter

Movie Cafe:
"With suitably twisted plot, “The Clinic” by James Rabbitts is also a one to watch Aussie horror this year. The film is slow to get started, but once underway it’s an enjoyable ride. Tabrett Bethell's excellent performance also is the highlight of the film for me.
Raw psychological horror as SAW meets THE VANISHING with a gripping hereditary twist in director James Rabbitts’ feature debut.
Halloween-meter: 6.5/10

Cinephilia (warning, lots of spoilers):
"The premise of the story is suitably twisted.
As far as sick and twisted schemes go, this one is pretty high up the list.
What holds the film together is the solid performances of the three central women. Beth, Veronica (Freya Stafford) and Ivy (Clare Bowen) are interesting characters.
The Clinic is a fairly orthodox horror/thriller with an unorthodox setting. There’s good and bad to be found in it, and it’s slow to get started, but once underway it’s an enjoyable ride.
" 3*

Dread Central:
"The Clinic is a beautifully shot and well acted Aussie thriller with some genuinely clever ideas, but it never fully embraces its grisly premise.
falls just short of greatness
" 2.5*

Reviews from other sources:

IMDb user reviews:

"A thriller of epic proportions - by Lowana
The movie is full of suspense and action. Definitely worth watching. Over and over again." 5*
I ordered this film from TX (USA) because I am a huge Tabrett Bethell fan and I so wanted to see this film.
I was amazed; paying for international shipping was so worth it!! The Clinic is a wonderful film
" 5*
From titania: "not really a horror film as such thriller if you will and a great one at that" 5*
From markandwendy: "Excellent and original - Saw this at Frightfest, and it is a great suspense-packed film. Would recommend it." 5*

Reviews from the Melbourne International Film Festival:
violensi (warning, spoilers):
"Tabrett was absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful in the film.
The entire film was shot beautifully.
Andy Whitfeld rocked his role as well, and Freya Stafford was fierce, just as I expected her to be.
The score was beautiful ♥
I loved the film.

"I personally loved the movie, it was really well done in a way where you feel for the characters especially Beth, she is heartbreaking as a mother trying to find her baby. Tabrett plays this role flawlessly. Her performance blew me away. I have only ever seen her as the Badass Mord'Sith, this role is at the complete opposite end of the acting spectrum. You believe she is going through an ordeal and you believe that she will stop at nothing to get her baby back. She was truly amazing, I cannot say enough good things about her performance, she will go far in this business. As far as the chemistry between Andy and Tabrett, it was totally there, you believed they were totally in love with each other.

The movie itself was very well done, in a way where it was creepy but not gory. The characters were drawn well, you knew everyone's personalty right off the bat and you knew exactly what was going on. I love horror movies but lately they have been dreadful, this movie redeems this genre and it is Australian which is even better, being Australian myself I really loved how well this movie was done. The mystery surrounding the story was done in a way where you don't ask yourself "Whats going on"? It left you with enough to wet your appetite but to not know everything.

The ending was great, I have a real issue with endings of movies cause most endings are bullshit but the twist in this movie I did not see coming and complimented the movie as a whole quite nicely.
If I were to give it a rating out of 10 it would be an 8.5

"I thought the movie was brilliant and Tabrett Bethell is seriously awesome in it. She absolutely delivers - as some have already said "a fantastic performance". All the cast were great but for mine Tabrett's performance was the stand out.
Its easy to forget that this is essentially only her 3rd movie and she made it before she got LotS... Tabrett Bethell has a bright future ahead of her and I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of her
There are definitely some creepy moments and some gore but no more than you would expect of a movie of this genre and definitely not gratuitous or over used.
Whilst this movie was a low budget, essentially independent production, its still a quality production and well worth watching.

Aussie Insider:
"The acting in the movie was surprising great for an Australian movie. Clare Bowen and Tabrett Bethell are my new favourites.
The acting along side the visual effects were a win win effort. For a low budget the quality and visual effects were awesome. The story like has twists and turns every few minutes, and some really descent fright scenes that got be jumping off my sit… literally.
All around The Clinic is a great movie, scary, dramatic and what I crave in a movie, a storyline that you fully get but are still leaving you trying to fit pieces together, which truly makes this one of my favourite Australian movies, maybe its my taste, or it is a really great movie."

Lowana (warning, huge spoilers):
"As far as Thriller movies go, this is one of, if not THE very best movie I have ever seen. I've seen heaps of Horror movies and Thriller movies, and altthou this movie had little suspense and violence, it was just enough to keep you on your seat, suppress several screams and gasps and have you clinging to your non-amused friend sitting beside you.
It manages just the right mix of emotions, violence and suspense and surprisingly, the ending is not corny. I absolutely loved this movie and can't wait for it to be released on DVD (if it will).

A few more comments about Tabrett's performance from reviews and twitter:
"Charismatic actress Tabrett Bethell does a magnificent job playing the mother that grows in desperation and courage."
"Tabrett got to show off her acting skills in The Clinic in ways we never saw in Legend of the Seeker. Scared and vulnerable"
"Tabrett Bethell's performance was excellent"
"Needless to say, Tab is incredible in the role. She brings a realness to the character and even as the events of the film get more unreal, she keeps her grounded in an honest and moving performance"
"Tabrett Brethell, through it all, conveys the emotions of her character successfully and credibly."

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