It’s difficult to give a film like this a star rating. It’s a complete oddity. For starters, it’s overtly stagey: the set up is that three strangers end up getting trapped in the underground laundry room of their apartment building on the hottest day of the summer, so it’s essentially a film about three people in one room.
The premise sounds like maybe it’ll become a low budget thriller of some sort, as they try to escape and maybe face some kind of physical hardships, and indeed the film seems like it’s going to go in that direction for a little while, as the electricity cuts out, there’s only a limited amount of food (and no bathroom) available, and the possibility that the basement will flood looms.
But then things start getting kind of weird. The dynamic between the three strangers continually shifts, and none of them act rationally, at all. Within about an hour of getting trapped, they’re all acting as if this is a life and death situation, when actually it seems pretty likely that someone will be along to let them out before too much longer. (The scene in which Julian and Moriat have sex, writhing in a chair without ever actually getting undressed, while Nora reads from the newspaper, is bewildering.) It sounds terrible, and yet somehow it’s compulsively watchable, perhaps because all the actors seem to have committed so fully to their roles.
So it’s a shame that the ending is the worst cliche in the book, the ultimate cop-out. (It should’ve been obvious, but I think the fact that I’d seen Soul Survivors so recently kept me from realising; I didn’t want to think another film would do something so bloody annoying!) It’s kind of terrible, then, ultimately. But it had its moments, and it wasn’t boring, so it gets points for that.