Genre: Crime, Mystery, Horror, Thriller.
Starring: Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Patrick Bergin.
Year Of Release: 2017
Certificate: 15 (UK)
Runtime: 80 Minutes
Director: Warren Dudley
Writer(s): Warren Dudley
Synopsis: “Seattle call girl Gracie Blake wakes up in a cage, in a warehouse – somewhere in America.” IMDB
A young phone sex worker Gracie Blake (Quinlan) wakes up in a cage inside a warehouse, without any knowledge how she got there or who took her there. Her kidnapper has left a mobile phone with her within the cage and quickly gets in touch with her, he informs her she is able to speak to her family and such but any attempt to contact the police will result in devastating circumstances. So begins the ultimate waiting game, will Gracie be able to keep up with the demands of her kidnapper or will the days of solidarity and fear of death get the best of her? Her emotions and mental state quickly begin to deteriorate as she keeps in contact with her Mum and boyfriend. I’ll leave the synopsis breakdown there as to avoid spoiler territory.
This is the second film after “The Cutting Room” I have had the pleasure of reviewing that is, directed by Warren Dudley which also re-teamed him with the incredibly talented Lucy-Jane Quinlan. Dudley has a wonderful ability to build tension with just one character on screen in Gracie, the feel of claustrophobia and sense of impending dread comes across in a pure edge of your seat thriller. Given this film was made with a budget you’d see spent on coffee in a blockbuster (may be a little dramatic), Dudley still manages to encompass everything you get from films that are similar in vein, the likes of Rodrigo Cortes’ “Buried” starring Ryan Reynolds or J. C. Chandlor’s “All Is Lost” starring Robert Redford spring to mind. They are small budget by Hollywood standards, “CAGE” is small budget by tv episode standards but it’s able to rival bigger self contained Thrillers. One of my favourite things about the film was the continual tension building, the film rarely sat still when it felt it reached a point of tension, it reached that point then dragged you in even further with a twist or turn you didn’t see coming. While there is constant tension building there is still a few slower moments, but with the short runtime the slower moments don’t feel overly slow.
It doesn’t really make sense to say Lucy-Jane Quinlan steals the scenes because she’s the only one on the screen but her talent shines through very heavily in the range of emotions she has to portray. Be it from joyous belief she is actually going to get out sooner or later to accepting her fate that she is destined to spend her days alive alone in a cage without any of her loved ones around her a mind frame that is paralleled heartbreakingly with events going on in the “real world” with Gracie’s family. I would be remiss not to mention that a few times within the film Quinlan’s American accent dropped in and out, but it’s not enough to have any bearing on enjoyment, heck if Don Cheadle didn’t destroy the “Ocean’s” franchise with his Cockney accent I’m positive a few slips shouldn’t bother anybody. Patrick Bergin also gives a stellar voice performance he’s able to convey just pure evil with his voice, without becoming cheesy or comical as a menacing voice, he’s able to draw the anguish out of Quinlan in a very realistic feeling, with both playing off each other wonderfully.
Overall I found “CAGE” completely hit the nail on the head with its intentions, from the acting to the shooting you are completely drawn into what Gracie is going through. It’s a roller-coaster ride of emotion and intensity culminating in a great thriller. There is enough twists and turns to keep you hooked to the screen, doing well to bring in some unexpected twists which is a big ask in todays overcrowded market. Quinlan and Bergin have a great dynamic showcasing their talents, Quinlan is quickly becoming a name I see often in regards to indie UK cinema hoping she continues to grow she’s a pleasure to watch. That being said, Mr Dudley has delivered two very good films to date that I’ve had the opportunity to review, his latest written film “Bromley Boys” releases soon, check back for our review of that. “CAGE” is easily one of the best indie thrillers of the year, it alone is worthy of an Amazon subscription.