The Facility (2019) Review
Originally filmed and released in its native UK as The Rizen: Possession, The Facility is, as you may have guessed, a sequel to 2017’s The Rizen. Writer/director Matt Mitchell (Gangsters, Guns & Zombies) returns to give us a modern-day sequel to the 1955 set original. That film was another in the subgenre of military experiments gone wrong subgenre that includes Frankenstein’s Army, Trench 11, and most closely, the Outpost trilogy. But apparently, things weren’t resolved, merely contained for all these years.
This got me to wonder how common these underground military installations are in the UK. Just in the past couple of years, they’ve turned up in this film and its predecessor, The Dark Within, Soldier of War, Black Site, and Redwood Massacre: Annihilation. But, back to the film at hand…
A group of urban explorers Becca (Clarice Burton), Maddie (Sophie Miller-Sheen), Steve (Kevin Leslie, I Am Vengeance, 13 Graves), Adam (Marcus Bronzy) and his sister Grace (Harriet Madeley, Dragonflies Only Live for 24 Hours, House of Darkness) break into an abandoned military facility. I say break-in, but the entrance is just sitting there, not behind a gate or with so much as a “No Trespassing” sign to be seen.
They haven’t gone undetected, though. The Suited Woman (Sally Phillips, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Bridget Jones’ Baby), looking no older than she did in the original, is dispatching a team of corporate mercenaries to neutralize them. Sergeant Davies (Michael Fatogun, The Courier) has some issues with the assignment. Not with killing unarmed college students, but with the weird notebook she insists they take with them.
However, both groups are about to find out that the bunker isn’t empty. And what’s down there is something that shouldn’t have been disturbed.
The Facility gets down to business pretty quickly as the two groups both begin to see and hear things that shouldn’t be there. These start out as merely creepy, old-time music playing. A wheelchair sitting in front of a room with a light on in the otherwise dark bunker. It’s all effectively done but familiar haunted house material. Until the ghosts start shooting at people and bandaged headed creatures appear from nowhere to drag others off to a bloody death.
It’s these creatures that provide much of The Facility’s scares. They look more unsettling than I remember them being in the original, giving off a strong Silent Hill kind of vibe. And if you’re wondering, yes we do get to see what’s under the wrapping this time.
We also learn a bit more about them, and what the researchers were doing. As they get deeper into the facility, some of the characters begin to have hallucinations that resemble flashbacks to 1955. This is done with a nice mix of footage from the first film and newly shot material involving the newer characters. The mix cuts together nicely, and we begin to see the connections between what happened then and what is happening now.
It also leaves a lot unexplained, most notably any details about the mysterious company involved with the site. The Facility is obviously meant to be the middle film of a trilogy, so it isn’t showing all of its cards, or its creatures. But we do get a look at some of whatever it is that’s on the other side of that gateway. An epilogue set in Russia and featuring Omri Rose, the co-writer of Let it Snow, gives a hint of where the next chapter is heading.
Fast-paced, creepy, and frequently bloody, The Facility is an enjoyable watch. You don’t need to have seen The Rizen to enjoy it, but it certainly helps with understanding some of the flashbacks. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.
The Facility will be available on DVD and Digital on December 8 from Uncork’d Entertainment. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details. There’s also a page for The Rizen, in case you need a refresher.