Peter Hurd’s directorial debut The Control Group does have a handful of moments to note but ultimately falls short of what could have been a promising indie entry.
Straight out the block we are presented with quite a confusing plot, Jack (Ross Destiche) wakes up in an abandoned insane asylum with four other 20 something’s for company – although they clearly don’t like each other. After some unnecessary bickering the group try to work out why or how they are there. There are hints towards the supernatural early on and soon enough we establish that they are being held there for experimentation by madball Dr. Broward with the aid of some form of agency. Honestly I’m writing all this and not really convinced by my own words but that was my interpretation of the plot, maybe with a bit more polish could have worked but there were just too many holes to even consider the plot as successful.
The cast is a mixed bag with varying degrees of experience naturally Brad Dourif (Lord of the Rings) as mad scientist Dr. Broward is convincing whilst the remainder of the cast both fall short of the mark and are let down from some terribly sloppy dialogue choices.
On the whole I was quite impressed with the practical effects especially some of the gorier scenes which accomplished more than they had any right too, that’s not to say even these were without fault....I can distinctly remember one of the female leads loosing pretty much all of her insides with the stab of a knife, it just didn’t make sense!
On the flip side the CGI is terrible, it completely detracts from any gore scenes and ends up sticking out like a sore and very ugly thumb. I’ve always favoured practical effects over CGI especially in indie entries as it’s very rare that they have the budget to allow for high level CGI and unfortunately The Control Group is a prime example of that hypothesis.
The Control Group isn’t helped in any way by its trailer, which when put together encompasses a multitude of genres, it has hints of ‘demons’ or zombies, the supernatural with a nod towards the Saw franchise....it’s a mess!
The best way to summarise Control Group would be a wild B-Movie with, for the size of the budget an over ambitious plot. That said it would be good to see a future attempt from Mr Hurd, especially if it involved any level of gore!