Mine 9 review: A visual tale of claustrophobia


Mine 9 reminds us that miners have one of the toughest, most dangerous jobs in the world . If you suffer from claustrophobia, this film will leave you on the edge of your seat.

There are a number of jobs with a high level of danger, and sadly most of them are ignored by society, meaning that security measures are not always adequate, further increasing the danger. Coal miners fall into this category, and it only takes one mistake or bad move to provoke a tragedy. Mine 9 is an example of what can go wrong in a coal mine.

Written and directed by Eddie Mensore, Mine 9 follows a group of coal miners who are trapped two miles underground after a methane explosion. Not only do they have to find out who survived and who didn’t and try to find a way to get out or contact the rescue team, but they only have a one-hour supply of oxygen. Let the drama begin.

Mine 9 will be a nightmare for those viewers with claustrophobia: the cinematic language is so good you will feel trapped in the mine with the protagonists. The lighting brings a feeling of warmth during their normal work days at the mine and a gloomy atmosphere when the real drama begins, all in a very subtle but effective way. It also adds to the claustrophobic vibe by shedding light on certain spots while the rest of the frame remains in pure darkness.

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The premise of this movie is interesting but the story falls short. It has a slow start and the full drama and tension begin late and the tension doesn’t last long, but the drama does. More than jump-scares or suspense, the story explores the psychological horror-side of the situation: how being trapped underground with not enough oxygen and barely any space to move can affect you mentally and emotionally from the very first minute.

It also has a dose of body horror but not too much as to shadow the psychological part. However, there’s a part that feels unnecessary and purely there for dramatic reasons (and a bit of shock value), which is valid especially if it has the desired effect in you but to me it was something that could have been cut out of the movie or approached differently.

The characters fall into a couple of clichés, which makes the ending a bit predictable, but the real tragedy is that the ending falls flat. We go through all the drama, the tension, the claustrophobia, and the ending doesn’t bring anything. It’s a weak closure to a story that did its best to hold itself.

There’s one thing I do have to warn you about: if you watch it with headphones or in a room with a loud sound system, brace yourself. Aside from the dialogues, the sound mixing is not polished, and the sound effects during the critical/suspense moments can leave your ears ringing for a while.

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In the end, Mine 9 has a good amount of psychological horror and a dash of body horror, and does a great job in transmitting that claustrophobic vibe. It’s a different kind of horror-drama if you are in the mood for something new.

Does Mine 9 sound like a film that you would like to see? Let us know in the comments.