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Feature Review - Lab Rats

By midlandsmovies, Sep 17 2015 04:09PM

Lab Rats (2015)

Written and Directed by David 'dwyz' Wayman

Produced by Lauren Parker

Team Chameleon

This new short horror film from Nottingham is directed by David Wayman and follows a group of friends who go to an animal testing facility in a van to check on the shady goings on at a sinister laboratory. “Remember, don’t get caught”, they are told by their driver as he leaves the eco-warriors to investigate the building at night thus setting the stage for this rag-tag band of do-gooders to break in.

A suitably spooky soundtrack works well with some interesting shot choices as the group creep around the building, through corridors and stairwells before peering into eerie lab rooms containing scientific equipment of all descriptions. The acting is solid with the diverse cast playing eclectic characters and without any apparent alarms the group jimmy-open the doors to continue their adventure in the dark.

The first person to be picked off is grabbed by an infected hand from a bin and the mixture of horror and comedy is pretty standard as these things routinely go. The effects however are very good and it’s also edited at a brisk pace which keeps the tension up as the group stumble upon grotesque horrors that are shown with a disgusting but hugely entertaining amount of pus, blood and gore.

The filming style is also great with even a JJ Abrams lens flare or two thrown in and the short film even has time to cut to phone footage, news reports and security cams to keep the visuals interesting for the viewer.

I am not quite sure why there was so much swearing from one character which grated on me after a while – but I guess we had to think he was obnoxious. This can’t be held too much against the film as meaning and character(s) and their motivation has to come across quicker in a short than say in a lengthy feature.

Later on we see a woman melting which is genuinely disgusting and although there are a few jumps I thought for one strange moment that there were not enough screams. Maybe they just needed to be raised in the sound mix.

As the film comes to its sticky end, the story rotates full circle after the reveal of a shadowy cigarette-chomping businessman who arrives with some Hazmat-suit wearing security.

This twist shocks the audience again and whilst some choices keep with the genre clichés, in reality this leaves the story open enough for development of a longer full-length film.

Having seen, and been a big fan of, the filmmaker’s previous short “6 Shooter” which is now being developed into a feature itself, the film showcases a wide range of talent.

From a simple but efficient narrative, it is the effects especially that keep the movie at the forefront of Nottingham’s finest and I recommend you go see this gloomy and gory horror hit when it shows at the regions' festivals.

7.5/10 Midlands Movies Mike

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