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[Review]: Double Blind (2024)

From director Ian Hunt-Duffy comes new Irish horror, Double Blind. An examination of the shady practice of drug trials carried out by mysterious pharmaceutical companies, the film is also a nightmarish depiction of what happens to the human mind when forced to stay awake way beyond the body’s capability. 

Millie Brady plays Claire, a down and out young woman who joins five other twenty-somethings as lab rats for a new wonder drug being developed by Blackwood Pharmaceuticals. Horror stalwart Pollyanna McIntosh plays Dr Burke, the supervisor of the trials who soon realises the new drugs may not be entirely fit for human consumption, but like most medical professionals, must contend between ethical practices versus financial incentives. As the trial continues and the dosages increase, the trial subjects find themselves forced to stay awake, lest they end up haemorrhaging from various orifices. 

Double Blind is a claustrophobic descent into sleep deprived delirium, with a slight tint of Cronenberg’s 1975 film Shivers especially in its set up of imprisoned and isolated people suffering the consequences of a science experiment gone wrong. The score by Irish composer Die Hexen deserves extensive praise for the jarring score, further adding to the Cronenberg-esque feel of the film, as well as perfectly embodying the discomfort and twitchiness of a sleep deprived state.   The moments of horror, courtesy of character Amir’s (Akshay Kumar) hallucinations are jolting as well as the constant sense of inevitable doom that is enough to trigger anyone who has been unlucky enough to suffer from insomnia. 

The ending is overall highly predictable, with the idea of Claire being a “final girl” of sorts made obvious from the get go, and it definitely could have done with a wholly nihilistic and more grim of a conclusion, but all in all Double Blind is an effective psychological pharma-horror that tests the resilience of the human mind. 

4 Screams out of 5


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