The grizzly horror Containment by Scott Matthew Watson tells the story of doctor Jeffrey Trepman (Chris Sharp) imprisoned by the government, during a viral outbreak. The film does the opposite of most outbreak films (28 Days Later for example), as it focuses on the development of the virus and the institutionalisation of the victim, as he ineffectually attempts to make sense of what is happening.
Containment begins serious in tone, but gradually betrays a sadistic but satisfying dark humour (which arises out of the film’s shocking set piece). Taking place virtually entirely in a disgusting cell (an excellent display of design and lighting), the film gradually amps up the tension as the inevitable horror encroaches.
Particularly interesting is the film’s staunchly subversive outlook. Instead of looking upon Trepman’s imprisonment as necessary, the film provokes us to see it as tyrannical, selfish and cruel on the part of wider society. Trepman, a doctor, is subject to a ruthless social exclusion where he is beyond the point of communication or explanation. It makes us question what part the establishment has to play in the outbreak.
And yet the brilliance of Containment as a short is that it poses these questions, without ineptly struggling to answer them. Instead it hints brilliantly at the world outside of Trepman’s cell, where a Soderbergh-esque feature adaptation would feel right at home. For all its brutal horror, Containment is a brilliantly restrained short film.[vimeo vimeo.com/19060157]