Double Blind Review: An underrated Irish thriller to keep you up at night

This medical psychological thriller documents the effects that staying awake has on both the body and mind – in the most horrifying detail. Filled with experimental editing and phenomenal acting performances, Double Blind is sure to keep you awake at night, much to your despair after witnessing what lack of sleep can do.

Directed by Ian Hunt Duffy and written by Darach McGarrigle, this Irish made and produced film follows the test subjects in an experimental drug trial. Originally meant to test the effects of the medicine on migraines, the tone of the test quickly turns sinister as all seven of the subjects find themselves unable to sleep.

Among the subjects include our main character Claire, played by Millie Brady, who is participating in the trail only because of the promised payment awaiting her. Struggling with financial hardship alongside her turbulent family life, all Claire wants to do is sleep. However, thanks to the effects of the drug and her happy-go-lucky roommate, this cynic finds herself in a more dire situation than anticipated.

Joining her in the testing is Alison, played by Abby Fitz, whose ray-of-sunshine personality and seemingly never-fading smile rubs Claire the wrong way, causing her to snap and become more irritable as the movie continues. The other test subjects include: Ray (Diarmuid Noyes), a carefree Dublin native who is no stranger to these paid trials; Vanessa (Shonagh Marie), whose heavily religious childhood left her traumatised; Paul (Brenock O’Connor), a charismatic young man looking to have as much fun as he can; and Marcus (Frank Blake), a level-headed and caring athlete.  Closing out the group is medical student Amir, played by Akshay Kumar, who joined the trailing group thinking it would lead to a summer internship.

As the group begins to understand their joint insomnia is due to the drug, they turn to the doctor leading the trail, Dr Burke (Pollyanna McIntosh).

As this is a double-blind trial, Dr Burke has no understanding of the drug, its intended purposes, or its possible side-effects. As the days go on, the company officials urge Dr Burke to continue the testing for a higher financial gain per patient, which completely sways to group the stay in the facility. However, their collective joy at their newfound riches is undermined by the sudden gory death of one of their fellow patients after they fell asleep. Overwhelmed with fear the group attempts to escape as the entire facility is put on lockdown, trapping them together as they fight to stay awake.

As the group becomes increasingly stressed and terrified, they attempt to come up with various plans to escape, almost all of which are informed by Amir’s encyclopaedic knowledge of company procedures that he picked up during his medical degree. However, as each group member becomes more tired, their minds start to attack them, causing hallucinations based on their most personal fears. With their brains becoming corrupt from several days without sleep, they begin to turn on each other.

Who is telling the truth? How does Amir know so much about the company? Why has Ray participated in so many trials? Who can I trust? As the timer goes on, the group must answer these questions while remaining vigilant, and of course, staying awake.

With incredibly jarring editing, eerie cinematography and an unsettling sound design, this film undoubtedly unnerves audiences. The storyline is completely amplified by the astounding performances of every actor, as well as the sheer number of unpredictable twists and turns.

This movie is surprisingly underrated, with both the performance, storytelling, visual interest, and production being flawless. Seeing Irish actors portray Irish characters in an Irish-made film is not as common as we would hope, so movies like these should be celebrated.



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