Director: Tom Sands
Screenplay: Mick Sands
Starring: Kirsty Averton, Nicky Henson, James Rose, Lindsay Campbell
Duration: 103 min
BBFC Certification: 15
If you were able to reprogram your sub-consciousness, where would it lead? Would it make you all powerful, capable of achieving your wildest dreams or would it allow you to be mentally imprisoned and manipulated by others? These are the sort of questions The Holly Kane Experiment would like you ponder, but the only question you’ll be asking yourself is “How much longer does this film go on for?” Unfortunately, The Holly Kane Experiment is an extremely dull and boring film.
Directed by Tom Sands, the film follows Holly Kane (Kirsty Averton), a scientist who uses herself as a guinea pig for her own experiments. Aiding her in these experiments, is her chemist friend (Lindsay Campbell) who provides her with the custom made hallucinogenics that allow her to enter the necessary trance-like states. Soon she is approached by Dr Greenslade (Nicky Henson), a former cult deprogrammer who is now working for the government, who offers to finance her research. Soon Holly is immersed in tweaking her subconscious to allow the mind to subdue its natural feelings of pain and anxiety, but in no time her mind begins to show signs of collapsing.
The Holly Kane Experiment had the potential to be an intriguing meditation on the untapped potential of the human mind (and this is something that the marketing alludes to), but quickly ditches this to become a rather unexciting ham fisted thriller about brainwashing and government conspiracies. This may have worked better as a short film, but the somewhat threadbare script is stretched to an endurance testing 103 minutes. It doesn’t help that that film is very grey – all dull skies, windswept sea-fronts and dark shadows – and most of the scenes are of brooding actors delivering clunky dialogue in an almost robotic manner. The only saving grace visually are the shots of Holly floating in the sensory deprivation tank, which pull out to show her in a large open black sea – representing her expanding of her consciousness.
At first I wasn’t impressed with Averton’s acting as Holly, but then I came to realise that the character wasn’t particularly well written. The character is constantly switching between an emotionally cold person and then being overly emotional. Also disappointingly, after spending the bulk of the film as a strong independent woman, in the finale she becomes the clichéd victim needing to be rescued by her boyfriend. The other actors are of variable quality – Nicky Henson can sleepwalk is way through this sort of material and Lindsay Campbell gives the strongest performance. On the flipside, James Rose as Holly’s love interest Dennis, is so wooden they may have well just cast a piece of IKEA furniture and Matthew Neal’s one note government agent must have developed indigestion from all the scenery he chews.
This is the only film I have seen from Tom Sands, and his direction is flat and lifeless. His attempt to craft a suspenseful finale is poor. As Holly and Dennis go on the run from Greenslade and his henchmen, you don’t get any sense of them being in danger. When they do finally escape, you really don’t care.
With poorly written characters and a largely uninteresting script, The Holly Kane Experiment is a wannabe thriller with absolutely no thrills. I think I might start experimenting with reprogramming my own subconscious so I can forget this film.
The Holly Kane Experiment is now available on digital platforms.