Thomas J. O'Brien, Sabrina Ahmed, Joshua Diolosa, Brian DiRaimondo
Robert Dibella, Darren Wallach
Paterson, New Jersey's Art Factory is the ideal location for Christopher Picone's 5-minute indie horror/thriller The Confined. The film centers around three entrepreneurs who visit an abandoned hospital aspiring to turn the space into a profitable investment. However, once inside they seemingly awaken the dark and sinister spirits lying dormant inside the abandoned ruins and before long their aspirations for success turn into desperation to survive this place where evil once dwelled and may have never left.
The Confined has picked up a handful of awards at various microcinema fests and will likely most appeal to those who can appreciate its accomplishments despite an ultra-low budget. While there's never a moment when that low budget isn't evident, Picone does a nice job of creating an ominous aura alongside Chris Shenkle's lensing and the theme music by Jason Wallach. Among the film's ensemble, Thomas J. O'Brien shines most brightly as Landry while Sabrina Ahmed also has some nice moments as Kelly.
The story by Robert Dibella and Darren Wallach is familiar yet engaging enough that you really don't mind all that much. The story could have easily benefited from at least a few more minutes to draw us into these characters and, quite honestly, to really explore the Art Factory setting.
Where The Confined most falls noticeably short is in its lighting. While low-budget lighting can often work well within the framework of an indie horror, in this case it more often mutes the film's chills and thrills and leaves us wishing that someone had thrown a few more bucks at Picone so we could have really seen him have fun with this material.
While The Confined may not ultimately rise to the level we would hope, it's a promising film with enough good moments to make it worth your while if you're able to maintain realistic expectations for what it means to shoot a truly low-budget indie flick.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic