Spoilers think running away should be considered more often.
Sometimes it’s useful if you set your standards low. I think there’s room for a lot of inspiration in films where the premise is close or obviously inspired by other films as long as you’re bringing something new to the fold. On paper, this film has a decent premise. On its execution unfortunately it lacks enough delivery to make for solid entertainment. I won’t compare it to the other films that will come to mind, but unfortunately any originality is rather scarce.
The Lair (2022) was directed by Neil Marshall who wrote it with Charlotte Kirk. RAF pilot Captain Kate Sinclair (Charlotte Kirk) has been shot down in a remote region of Afghanistan. Evading local insurgents, she manages to hide inside a seemingly abandoned Russian bunker. Her pursuers catch up, but they inadvertently release the captive creatures product of a bizarre biological experiment, which are lethal predators. As she manages to escape, she ends up being rescued by an ragtag team of American soldiers led by Major Finch (Jamie Bamber) and Sergeant Hook (Jonathan Howard). Convincing them of what she has just seen will be a challenge.
Despite all the comparisons you can make to other features that combine action and horror, I have to admit I couldn’t help but notice Captain Sinclair’s always on-point makeup and hairstyle even when she’s supposed to have gone through mud and grime. Also, some rather cliche moments took me out of the experience completely. I couldn’t help but shake my head when military hardass Major Finch appears on screen… sporting an eyepatch.
Does it work? Well, as a late night b-flick it does have a few short-lived moments but it also has some very cringe ones. Practical effects are quite decent enough, but they do show their limits in certain scenes. A little more restraint in the reveal would have gone a long way, as it loses most of its fear factor very early on. The characters all have quirky personalities making each one into a caricature of American or British military movie versions we’ve seen in other films.
Not recommended. Perhaps for a late night popcorn viewing. It doesn’t quite has enough bite for true horror fans. Half the cast won’t leave enough of an impression to remember them clearly. Most of what it tries to do is either inspired or borrowed from better films. It has some light entertainment value but nothing enduring. Save the watch for a very slow night or some background viewing.
That will do for now.