Mini Impressions: The Chamber

The Chamber is a 2016 movie following a group of four people in an old submarine. You have the pilot and three American special forces people who need the submarine to retrieve information from a crashed drone. To no one’s surprise, the mission goes south and leaves all four trapped in the sub with limited time to escape.

I give The Chamber a lot of credit because it’s a unique take on horror that I think should be explored more. It’s not horror because there is a killer, or gore, or a monster, or something supernatural coming into to harass people. Instead, it’s people put in a terrifying situation and forced to make impossible choices to survive. Movies like this I enjoy because they are a nice break from the more standard horror we’ve come to expect. The problem being is that they have very little in the way of wiggle room as far as execution.

And so we come to the core problem. The execution of The Chamber is just not as tight as it should be. Too much of the movie is spent with the four people arguing back and forth and getting in pissing contests over who should be in charge and what they should be doing. It becomes tedious and really started to take me out of the action. The tension caused by the actual situation began to unravel for me because the characters themselves and the pacing did not hold as well as it should.

Speaking of pacing the movie greatly suffers in this aspect. The movie somehow takes far too long and not long enough to set up the drama of being trapped in the sub. There is little background given which is disappointing, but then a lot of infighting with nothing happening dragging out the major plot point. Also, once they get stuck, there is a bit of a disconnect with very little in the way of trying different ways to get out and mostly just arguing over how they are screwed.

Again, circling back to the movie just being a lot of fighting between the people in the sub.

This is especially disappointing because the core idea is a good one. Again I like horror films that build on the idea of putting people in situations and letting the natural terror unfold. You don’t need something else, being stuck in a sub with seemingly no way out is pretty terrifying. There is also a lot of good ideas at play. One person starts to crack under the pressure, there are not many options for attempted escape, and all of them seem unlikely. This is good bones that could have made for a great movie.

When the movie does get around to substantial tension, it does it well, and it’s not a bad movie overall… just slightly disappointing.

I would still say it’s worth a watch for some horror fans, but in the end, I found the movie to be good, but kind of average. It has great moments with sadly sub-par filler to get us there. The most disappointing aspect is how much I wanted to like this movie. It seems right on the edge of so much more and easily could have been a great movie.

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