Whether you suffer from claustrophobia or not, it’s a good bet that you feel uncomfortable in a confined space. Film makers have often played on this fear. And a small set is perfect for directors with a meagre budget. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Aliens, The Thing, Das Boot, The Descent, Rear Window and Cube all used their (lack of) legroom to their advantage. In The Chamber, the cramped conditions defines the drama.
Operating at the edge of international waters, Mats (Johannes Kuhnke) works as a submarine pilot. Pickings are slim, but when Red (Charlotte Salt) and her crew (James McArdle & Elliot Levey) arrive on a secret mission, he’s ordered by his boss to take them to the seabed. Their prize is a downed aircraft, which they plan to destroy after retrieving data. This detonation traps them upside down on the ocean floor.
To be successful, The Chamber is reliant on two things: A taut script and good acting. Ben Parker’s feature debut has both. The tension builds nicely as the chances of escape diminish. A chamber piece is dependent on the chemistry between its actors, and Salt and Kuhnke are both superb. It does flirt with cliché at times, particularly McArdle’s hot-head character, but thankfully this is quickly reigned-in. The Chamber is an impressive claustrophobic drama which gradually ramps-up the tension to breaking point.
The Chamber is released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download by Studiocanal on Monday.