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The Clinic (2010)

While traveling across the outback of Australia with her fiancé, Beth is abducted and wakes alone in an isolated clinic to a mother’s worst nightmare. Just how far will she go to save her child?

I originally wrote this review back when I started my site in June, and I think about 2 people read it. It is a little bit spoilery, and not my most articulate writing, but hey it’s all a learning curve and I hope to keep improving. Now a few more visit here, I felt it deserved a re-release, as the film is great (ish) and I hope it encourages at least some of you to maybe try and track a copy down. 

The Clinic is an Australian horror/thriller starring the beautiful Tabrett Bethell as a young mother-to-be named Beth and tragically the late Andy Whitfield as her fiancé, Cameron. After a near accident on the road they stop at a motel and things take a turn for the worse.

It is loosely inspired by true stories of infant abduction, and after nipping out for some food, Cameron returns to the motel only to find his pregnant fiancée missing. Naturally he reports her disappearance to the police but things do not improve for either of them. We then cut to Beth who wakes in an ice bath naked and no longer carrying her baby after someone has performed a homemade c-section. Naturally distraught she sets about trying to find out who did this to her, and on her way she finds other women in the same situation and discovers they are all locked in an abandoned facility.

I knew nothing of the film so went in blind when this came on TV last week. I didn’t know if it was a horror, torture film, about serial killers or creepy ghosts, but it was on the horror channel so I thought I would give it a watch and without spoiling it too much I was glad I did. The Clinic is set in the year 1979 which we are told is six years prior to the advent of DNA testing. I thought this was a strange statistic to open a film with, but as it progressed and ultimately concluded the movie would only work in this time frame, in the current day and age there would be no point to any of it. However, overlooking this and trying to appreciate the film for what it is, I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw.

The lead actress Tabrett Bethell is brilliant as Beth. She really made me care about her journey and it was nice to see someone beautiful who can really act. She is on-screen pretty much the whole time, and her journey gets worse and worse. She meets other women in the facility who have all had the same surgery, and they eventually they find a room with all their babies in. With no idea who is doing this to them, they are made quickly aware (by someone or something!) of the fact that they each contain a clue to the identity of their baby – inside their freshly stitched wounds. One by one the numbers dwindle and I really like the direction the film took with this, very reminiscent of Saw II in particular. Naturally we get a bit of bloodshed but nothing too graphic or extreme, the film relied more on the story and characters with some brief moments of killing and wound opening thrown in.

The main tragedy of the film was that the ending was a let down. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the conclusion of Beth’s journey, and some neat little revelations about her past thrown in added to it, but her partner Cameron just disappeared. After he located where Beth was being held hostage, he set off to save her only to have an accident. Like in most films I was waiting for him to return and save the day but he never appeared again in the film. After doing some research, I found out the actor Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in the same year The Clinic was filming and the rumours were he was too ill to continue filming, and whilst he still appears in the first half of the film his character was just written out of the second half. It would have been interesting to see how they originally intended to use his character if he tragically wasn’t ill, but sadly it really tarnished the film as it felt incomplete. A real shame, as he was a great actor and had a real commanding presence about him in the scenes he is in.

Visually the film looked good, the barren Australian outback looked beautiful and desolate, and the facility the girls were held hostage in was claustrophobic enough without getting boring. The director offered some nice touches by changing the scenery enough to keep offering us something different. The other girls all played their parts well and whilst I kept waiting for the usual horror film clichés, none of them happened really so that was a positive. Mix this in with a killer in their midst, some silent bad guys watching on video cameras and a bent cop/disgusting pervert motel owner and you have a very different horror film. A least it offered something unique and this is always good to see.

I really feel that if we had seen a better ending this film would have been a much bigger hit and ultimately a more enjoyable experience. As it was I saw a great effort but it fell away and felt incomplete towards the end, with too many loose ends and unanswered questions that made the whole film seem a little far-fetched. The villains were never really explained, and whilst you will find out the motives it just doesn’t make much sense, such a shame as the film started so well and had so much potential.

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16 Comments

  1. theipc

     /  November 12, 2012

    Good one, Hombre!

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  2. I have been debating whether or not to see this movie for a while. The premise kind of reminds me of the urban legend about the man who woke up in a tub of ice to find his kidney had been removed. It doesn’t surprise me that the ending is a let down. Lately a lot of movies of this sort of indie/horror genre have unsatisfactory ending. Nice write up! Sounds worthy of at least a watch.

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    • Yeah its a shame about the ending, since, as you say, the rest of it sound plausible at the very least, these urban legends are always doing the rounds.

      Thanks very much, and if you do ever see it please come back and let me know your thoughts 🙂

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  3. Zoinks…

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  4. Tyson, every time I read one of your reviews, I feel like I need to renew my Netflix subscription sooner than later. And nearly every one of the horror movies you review, I’ve never heard of! So with that, I’m adding ‘The Clinic’ to my list!

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    • Thanks Todd!! I always love your comments, you make it sound like I’m doing what I set out to do and pointing people in the direction of some of the more obscure movies. Glad it works, at least for you!

      Hope you like it, and as always please let me know, would love to hear your thoughts on it 🙂

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  5. Victor De Leon

     /  November 14, 2012

    Hmm this one slipped by me. Gonna check it out. Thanks!

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  6. Every scary thing happens in the Australian outback…

    …and I wanna see them all. Hahaha. Just added it to my Netflix queue. And yay, it’s on streaming. I’ll try to watch it this week. 🙂

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    • Lol! Yeah the Aussies make some scary stuff! Fantastic isnt it!? 🙂

      Hope you like it, look forward to your thoughts.

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      • I think I liked it a little more than you did! I was engaged with whatever was going on and I bought the way it was resolved. Some might say it was anticlimactic or that it hadn’t explained enough but it felt right to me because Beth’s journey (assuming she doesn’t die–don’t want to spoil anything) felt complete.

        But you’re so right about this:

        “It would have been interesting to see how they originally intended to use [Whitfield’s] character if he tragically wasn’t ill, but sadly it really tarnished the film as it felt incomplete.”

        I wanted to see more of him!

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        • That’s great to hear!! Glad you liked it, always nice to hear when I recommend something!

          Just the ending for me let it down, but as you brought up with my comment, I just felt if Whitfield had been there it could of been better. He has a very commanding and watch-able presence doesnt he!

          Thanks for taking my opinion and giving this a shot, I appreciate it 🙂

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