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THE FACILITY (2019)
aka THE RIZEN: POSSESSION, THE RIZEN 2
Directed and written by Matt Mitchell
Starring Harriet Madeley, Michael Fatogun, Sarine Sofair, Kevin Leslie, Sophie Miller, Marcus Bronzy, James Barnes, Lewis Saunderson, Clarice Burton, Connor Williams, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Sally Phillips, Adrian Edmondson, Stephen Marcus, Laurence Kennedy, Jenny Lathan, Carol Cleveland!
A group of kids decide to explore an abandoned underground military facility for the hell of it. Their trespassing triggers a silent alarm at a top secret government office and a group of five military types are sent in to extract the kids. Neither group have any knowledge of what the abandoned facility’s purpose is, but soon they find themselves lost in the labyrinthine corridors and fighting for their lives against ghosts of the past and zombie creatures with bandages over their heads. When the two groups meet, they must team up in order to survive, but some of the group seem to have ties to the facility’s dark past that has connections to an otherworldly menace threatening to invade our own.
Matt Mitchell seems to be a smart and ambitious guy. Instead of making an out and out sequel to his smaller budget zombie WWII film THE RIZEN, he’s made an entirely different movie set in the same universe. While I doubt many saw the original THE RIZEN, I found it to be a fun, yet typical zombie movie that took advantage of its setting well and made for an exciting, though predictable first person shooter style horror story. In THE FACILITY, Mitchell seems to have learned from his experience and expanded upon the story by moving it to present day, treating the original film as lore to build off of. While it doesn’t make for the most original or deepest of inspirational material, it does give THE FACILITY some lived in history. You don’t need to see THE RIZEN before watching THE FACILITY. For the most part, it’s the same style and type of movie. THE FACILITY is just a tighter and slicker package.
Mixing SILENT HILL with ALIENS and AS ABOVE SO BELOW, THE FACILITY is breezy military action horror that delivers all of the tropes in a capable and competent manner. There’s the gruff team leader, the Vasquez, the Hudson, the Hicks. All of these ALIENS tropes are there along with all of the military jargon and hardware. The film also does a good job of having reality shift between the past and present, as well as this world and another twisted one. The mystery and confusion felt by the explorers and the clueless mercs sent in to get them is communicated well, propelling the story in a strong way that I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in. All in all, in terms of suspense, tension, action, and adventure, Mitchell proves to be able to do it well.
What really impresses me is how much milage Mitchell gets simply by having the cast move through what is most likely the same hallways and rooms in order to communicate an endless underground maze. Simple reverse angles and forced perspective makes this small budget film look like an expansive epic. Add in some decent CG which attempts to expand on the scope and you have a film that knows how to tell a big story for little dough. While the film gets lost in its own lore a bit at the end, THE FACILITY proved to be a fun, breezy, and exciting little action horror film and I look forward to see if filmmaker Mitchell pushes it further or moves on to other stories. While THE FACILITY is basically a modern retelling of THE RIZEN, it does so with a deft and clever hand when it comes to indie filmmaking.