Plot: Jack (Ross Destiche) wakes up in a strange place with no memory of how he ended up there, but he sees a mysterious, eerie masked figure. As he escapes from the odd figure, he runs into a group of his friends and things start to fall into place. His friends have wandering around what seems to be some type of creepy hospital, also unsure of how they all wound up inside. But regardless of how they got to this place, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of way out. Soon they run into traps of various kinds, including ones that have painful and even lethal consequences. Little do they know that they’re part of an elaborate experiment, run by Dr. Broward (Brad Dourif). Things start to spiral out of control however, leaving some of his staff curious if Broward knew what would happen or if he is just as shocked by what has happened. As bodies start to pile up and no one seems to have any answers, the staff is forced to try to lock down the experiment, even as things continue to go off the rails. Can anyone survive this chaotic madness and who is responsible for this horrific turn of events?
Entertainment Value: I was drawn to The Control Group by the promise of a group locked inside a creepy mental hospital that’s rigged with various traps, all overseen by Brad Dourif. As it turns out, the presence of Dourif proves to be the film’s highlight and his performance is quite good. As for the cool premise, the movie doesn’t really make the most of that potential. The end result is more of a drama with light horror and action elements, rather than straight up horror. The horror comes from jump scares and the tension of the unknown, as well as an undead slant that comes into play. On the action side, we have some ineffective chases and a lot of guns, which come to life through some atrocious visual effects. I’m sure resources were limited, but the effects look low end and very rushed and the movie pays the price for that. Its hard to build real tension or horror when the effects look like Microsoft Paint. And these effects are frequent, so there’s rarely time to forget the previous one before another appears. The premise is good and Dourif is fun to watch, but that’s all The Control Group has to offer. So unless you’re a diehard Dourif fan, its safe to skip this one.
No nakedness. There’s a lot of blood, but most of it is low end CGI that is more disruptive than anything else. The gun shot wounds look like digital paintball splatter, its just not good stuff. I can understand budget issues, but I don’t understand why so much gun play was kept in, knowing how poorly it translated on screen. A few practical effects creep in, but by and large, this is a digital effects show. From possessed eyes to jolts of electricity to gushes of blood, none of the digital effects here are even passable. I wanted to get into this movie, but these cartoon style effects were a poor choice. The dialogue is actually not that bad, but its overly serious with no sense of humor. So any hopes of memorable lines or wacky moments are dashed there. Dourif anchors the cast with his solid work, but everyone else ranges from bland to wooden. In terms of craziness, I have to award one point for the goofy, out of place effects, but otherwise this is a pretty standard ride that doesn’t offer much off the beaten path fun.
Overall Insanity: 1/10