If the psychological thriller genre lends itself to clichés – and some would certainly argue it does – Confine seems determined to pack as many of these in to its opening minute as possible. The first shot shows main character Pippa (Daisy Lowe) in a darkened room, breathing heavily as she stares Lady Macbeth-style at the blood covering her hands; the film then launches into a jaunty title sequence showing images from Pippa’s former modelling career, before flashing up news headlines of a sudden, shock car accident; we then cut to a scarred Pippa alone in her darkened apartment, pacing restlessly as she repeats to herself: ‘I am safe. I am secure. I am protected.’
There’s no room for intrigue, there’s no room for subtlety – and the film’s only just getting started.
Confine’s main problems lie in its weak script and bland story. The direction is competent throughout and the acting – although a little wooden in places – is okay, but the story itself does nothing to create tension. The pacing is awkward, the dialogue is predictable, and the plot – which revolves around a failed heist and Pippa being taken hostage by an intruder – is needlessly convoluted. The characters are cardboard cut-outs with little-to-no backstory or depth. ‘Remember who’s in control here,’ says antagonist Kayleigh (Eliza Bennett), as she drags Pippa across her lounge by the hair and throws her on to the sofa. The scene is meant to show Kayleigh’s vicious side; it’s meant to establish her as the unhinged and unpredictable villain, but it doesn’t have the right effect. Her character just isn’t convincing or threatening enough.
This lack of threat is prevalent throughout Confine. For a film in which we’re clearly supposed to empathise with the main character and feel her fear as she attempts to extricate herself from her situation, there isn’t nearly enough suspense. There are small, brief flashes of it – close-ups of Pippa attempting to untie herself from the bed, or finding and concealing a phone in her jeans – but these moments of tension are gone almost as soon as they appear.
And the end result, despite the efforts of the actors – Alfie Allen makes the best of his role, but he has little to work with – is a film that ends up being a bit tedious. We almost end up rooting for the biggest genre cliché of all, the twist ending, just to justify the film’s slow build-up – but when the end does come, it’s more of a relief than a climax.