Background: Even if you’re not a horror fan, the scenario depicted in the low-budget British film GUINEA PIGS is bound to intrigue you. The simple premise is that a group of volunteers arrive at a remote medical clinic to take part in a drug trial, and one by one they succumb to what their doctor blackly describes as “unforeseeable side effects”.
Methods: The seven diverse main characters – a Breakfast Club of jock, journo, dosser, shy boy, student, hippy and everyman – are gamely portrayed by some familiar faces from British stage and screen, and each get their moment to shine. Most notable is Morty, played by Steve Evets (LOOKING FOR ERIC), whose prior knowledge of pharmaceuticals allows the splintered group to improvise an amusingly effective weapon. It should be noted that no actual guinea pigs were harmed during the making of this film.
Results: The confined spaces of the clinic (communal ward, laboratory, canteen) form an effectively claustrophobic horror setting, but one CFF audience member was overheard to comment that it seemed “a bit Holby City”. Clever use is made of alternative media such as CCTV and flash photography, although an observant viewer may notice a couple of continuity slips which threaten to scupper the suspension of disbelief.
Conclusion: GUINEA PIGS is a slickly executed (pun intended) newcomer to the horror genre, although a touch more black humour would have better complemented the gorier moments. In summary, “I cannot intervene whilst the trial is ongoing”.