The Clinic (2010) - A different take on pregnancy horror comes from this small Australian film written and directed by James Rabbitts. His first feature it is a expecting Mother's nightmare in the outback of Australia. A young couple Beth (Tabrett Bethell) and Cameron (Andy Whitfield) are driving the outback to visit distant relatives. Beth is near term in her pregnancy so why she would drive long distance shows questionable decision making. They after a long day stop a a dusty rundown roadside motel and get a room. When Cam goes out late at night for some Chinese food he leave his sleeping wife in the room. When he returns back though the room is empty. Where did his wife vanish to? His journey is about trying to find her.
At this point in the film there is really a thriller aspect to it. Is this some kind of Saw film where the woman must perform some gruesome task to get her baby back? It is a meat processing plant could the baby be a calf for some high paying customer with a unique palette? Questions abound concerning both Beth and Cameron things we are somewhat quickly brought into focus. Cameron for his part goes from worried husband to fugitive in just a couple short scenes. After calling the police to report his wife missing he gets arrested for assaulting the motel owner Hank (Boris Brkic). The creepy guy had made inappropriate remarks about Beth when they were checking in. So Cameron suspected him but was just frustrated with the cop, Marvin (Marshall Napier) being nice to the guy, his friend or at least neighbor. The police in this small town did the predictable thing running Cameron around and questioning him as a suspect. When Cam snaps at the motel owner it is a good reason for the cop to arrest him. This seemed the most predictable part of the film. It is obvious that something is not right with Hank or Marvin, they are being played to be suspicious, so is this a Red Herring? Problem really is that it does not matter in this film. The entire story line for Cameron is all for not. His story does not matter in the least for the outcome of the movie?
The main story involves Beth who wakes in a tub of ice water with the scar of a cesarean section in her abdomen. She has had her baby stolen and finds herself in some strange compound that looks like a large cattle processing ranch. There are no locked doors to leave the building she is in so after painfully exiting Beth takes a very long walk until she find the outer fence, which is chained and too tall to climb over for someone in her condition. We had learned earlier that she had lost one baby so the anguish of this situation is poignant. She collapses in a heap crying for her loss and her helplessness. She is found by three other women all bearing the same tell tale blood stain from a c-section. Veronica (Freya Stafford), Ivy (Clare Bowen) and Allison (Sophie Lowe) have already looked for a way out and are now at a point where they want instead to look for their babies. Wait though something is not right, someone is killing off women in this complex and cutting their stomachs open. It is a Saw type story but without a bit of clever thinking or cool contraption.
Since this is not a film I want to recommend I am about to spoil the fuck out of it. Strange when I really like films I also want to spoil them, what does that say about me? In this case the women find a room with six caged babies that they can in no way free. Each baby has a colored tag, or should I say one half of a colored tag. Because we are the audience we have seen the person killing the women dug a tag from in the c-section scar of a victim so we understand the premise. Each woman has the second half of her baby's tag implanted in her so there are a few ways she can find out which child is hers. One would be to work together and escape then bring the authorities to sort out the babies. Where they are so isolated though it does not seem like a possible solution at the time. Next they could try to get there own tags out of themselves and match the color to that of the baby. It would be painful and possibly kill them but they could survive it if they got treatment soon enough. Third they could do what the killer is doing, killing all the other women and digging the tags out of them so by process of elimination finding out what color tag must be inside her. Now you are probably thinking that this is pretty far fetched and you are right. The "ah-ha" moment when the women figure it out is very unbelievable which is part of the reason I won't be recommending this film. It is just too much of a stretch. It is not even the biggest stretch this film takes. We learn later when one of the characters explains the plot to us like we would not get it otherwise, that one of the six women was told about the tags but not the other five. You have to love when a writer needs a part just to explain the plot. On top of that is a leap just way to ridiculous to believe, so much so that I cringe even in wanting to relay it to you fine readers.
When she wakes Ms. Shepard ( Elizabeth Alexander) is there the head honcho at the clinic to explain everything that has happened the last hour and a half. Fucking hate this kind of character. You see the clinic steals babies from women so that wealthy foreigners can adopt them, in this case a Russian couple. Its not quite that simple though, she explains that they only want the strongest genes to be put up for adoption so they have the Mothers fight to the death and the baby of the surviving Mother is the one that is adopted. Except the plot hole that only one Mother (Adrienne Pickering) was told about this fight to the death means that the strongest could be any of the killed Moms since they did not have the advantage of knowing about the contest. It is irrelevant though since the sole survivor was our Beth and now she knows with a broken heart that these Russians are going to take her child. Not only that but they get to kill Beth too, that way there are not loose ends. Well unless you include the fact that for 25 years women have been disappearing in late pregnancy. Also that there are still 5 other babies to be disposed of, and the previously mentioned not necessarily having the best genes because of the plot hole.
Back to the story for a bit. So the film becomes a survival movie with the victims being murdered by one of the other victims one by one in the hope that this last survivor can identify the baby that is hers. Of course since Beth is our main character you can guess that she is the final survivor and learns what color tag her baby has. Rushing back to the baby room only to find it empty. She at this point is knocked out and chained to the floor of an office.
There is only one thing to do when faced with this much bad script writing, make it even worse. So we get a big reveal that is so far fetched that it can not be mentioned in this blog. When in the end everyone is dead and Beth has won we still are left scratching our heads to why the fuck the final reveal was written. Then to kick us in the groin one final time we see that the writer needed to confirm uselessness of Cameron's independent story line. After her abduction the couples story lines never merged again and his was so futile and unhelpful that he could have been killed in the first five minutes and it would not have mattered in the story. On top of this shit pile we get a hopeful epilogue scene that made me want to spit at the television. So this film is a giant fail for me. Not that a survival story about a Mother trying to retrieve her baby is a bad idea it is that "The Clinic" was just so poorly written that it was not scary or worth the time I wasted watching it.