Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Cameron (Andy Whitfield) and Beth (Tabrett Bethell), who is far along with child, are a young good looking couple minding their own business riding down the Australian Outback on this Christmas Eve day in 1979 to visit Jane’s mother when some asshole tries to run them off the road. Why this asshole did this is beyond us, but apparently assholes ran supreme in 1979 in the Australian outback. But that asshole isn’t the problem. The movie is called ‘The Clinic’ and the very pregnant Beth will eventually end up in this clinic though I don’t believe this is the one sanctioned by her OB/GYN. But I could be mistaken there.

So our attractive couple decides to stop at this out of the way motel. Beth wants to drive through but Cam thinks they need a break. Bad decision Cam. They check into this motel where the seedy operator charges them a full occupancy fee for the fetus. What’s up with that? Then while relaxing by the pool this odd couple speaking all foreign and stuff just stands there ogling at these two. Then there are Beth’s weird nightmares featuring a baby awash in blood while lying atop roman numerals etched in stone. Strange stuff indeed.

Then late at night, for whatever reason outside of the fact that it works for the script, Cameron decides to take his gas empty car out to find something to eat. When he comes back Beth is gone. In complete freak out mode, Cameron calls the cops, accuses the seedy inappropriate motel clerk of having something to do with this and gets beat up and arrested by this cop for accusing this clerk.

But what about Beth? Well poor Beth wakes up buck ass naked in a tub of ice with a vertical suture going down her gut and her baby missing. That’s so not cool. After Beth painfully drags herself out of this ice and dresses herself she finds she’s trapped in an odd warehouse type facility and eventually will stumble upon more women wandering around with babies missing from the bellies. Damn if that’s not the good news because there’s somebody in this facility killing off these poor ladies one by one. Cameron, for his part, has escalated the situation and is on his way to save his lady and his baby.

The strange part about this whole situation are the dreams that Beth was having, eerily similar to this place she is trapped in, long before she even knew this place existed. What’s up with that? All will be explained in time.

Writer / Director James Rabbits film ‘The Clinic’ isn’t a bad watch at all. It’s a bit out there concept wise and it does tend to stretch the levels of believability to near breaking points on occasion… if not on ALL occasions, but ultimately we found it to be a pretty decent thriller.

SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW: But the entire concept of this film as some kind of rudimentary style of eugenic selection, one that has been going on for at least the last thirty years, is completely ludicrous. Cameron getting hungry in the middle of night and leaving his pregnant lady in strange place on an empty gas tank is also completely ridiculous. I don’t know about intricacies of Australian law enforcement but a half dozen or so women who go missing every year for the last thirty years should spur somebody into some kind of action. Obviously I’ve never had a baby or had to endure a C-section but these young ladies are amazingly spry for a group of women who have just suffered through a violent I-section done by amateurs. You know, there is a reason that police officers cuff perps with their hands behind their backs as opposed to in front.

So while we can establish that almost everything in ‘The Clinic’ is completely ludicrous and ridiculous, but James Rabbits does adhere to Armstead’s rule of ridiculousness in that his film is consistently ridiculous. And when a film is consistent, you don’t have to worry about it anymore and can just sit back enjoy it for what it is. So as ridiculous as the story behind ‘The Clinic’ might be, it is an interesting one and it does keep you engaged if for no other reason you want to see what in the world is going on. This is more of a thriller than a horror movie, despite the suggestive, torture-esque DVD cover and we are thankful that we didn’t have to suffer through too much torture gore. Rabbits gives us a film that is deliberate and methodically paced, Tabrett Bethell made for a very athletic and spunky heroine even though her hair style was more 2010 than 1979. I think we needed something more along the lines of Cheryl Ladd or the Bionic Woman. Same for Andy Whitfield who was still sporting his Spartacus close cut. It would’ve been ugly, but he probably should’ve been wearing a big curly wasp-fro. Even the ending of ‘The Clinic’, which fell right in line with the overall ridiculousness of the film, was decent in the sense that it was setting itself up to end one way and then ultimately put everything on the shoulders of our heroine and went in another direction. Same expected conclusion, but a different way to get there.

Truly ‘The Clinic’ isn’t without its issues and if you can’t side-skirt these issues I completely understand, however we here at the FCU appreciated the consistency of this exercise and were able to squeeze out a healthy amount of tense, taut, entertainment value in the process. Get well Andy Whitfield.

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