INDUSTRIAL ANIMALS ** UK 2016 Sam Mason-Bell. 65 mins
Co-writer / director Sam Mason-Bell also takes the lead role in this grim mockumentary, portraying the elitist documentarian who, with his equally loathsome cameraman (Thomas Davenport) sets out to capture on film three days and nights in the life of prostitute Tamsin Howland.
Mason-Bell’s own personal hang-ups (and Daddy issues) become apparent when he becomes ever needier regarding the sex he has with her and jealous whenever her attention waivers. “We paid her, we can do whatever we want…” An initially compelling insight into the world of a pair of callous, golf-playing, yacht-owning losers with delusions of making something significant in their bid to “try to understand the lower classes”. There are suitably uncomfortable scenes as Mason-Bell is challenged to humiliate Howland, but the best he can come up with is to call her a “cunt” and whack her arse with a belt. Howland, who co-wrote with Mason-Bell, conveys a credible awkwardness as a character self-consciously striving to be herself on camera. Unfortunately, the script abandons all of its compelling character dynamics and psychosexual themes in favour of a disappointing foray into pure horror territory in the final 15 minutes. It is also weakened by an intrusive score at odds with the style and approach of the unfolding events.
Review by Steven West