DVD REVIEW: The Clinic (18), (93 mins), new on DVD.

Just the thing if you want an hour and a half of genuinely-gripping, deeply-gruesome thrills, The Clinic is a film which packs a punch - every mother’s worst nightmare served up in the most horrifying fashion.

Heavily pregnant Beth (Tabrett Bethell) is abducted from a grim, lonely motel, waking up hours later to find herself bleeding into a bath of ice. Across her stomach are the stitches from a very recent Caesarean section.

On a chair nearby are some clothes; on the clothes are roman numerals. Sinisterly, she is number 608.

Soon she meets numbers 603-7, blood-stained mothers one and all, all of whom have had their babies surgically removed. Terrified and uncomprehending, they are searching for answers in the seemingly-abandoned industrial site which has become their prison.

Eventually they find their babies lined up in a cage, but they have no way of releasing them. Even worse, they realise that their only hope of identifying their own baby lies in a coloured plastic clip which has been sewn into their stomachs.

And then, just when you think the worst has been reached, it turns out that they are being stalked by another mother, desperate to rip open their stomachs so she can identify her own child without having to rip her own stomach open.

Rather like Wolf Creek, you suspect that it’s not a film that’s going to do terribly much for the Australian tourism industry, but you certainly have to recognise the hand of a master in writer and director James Rabbitts.

Rabbitts throws the women together, like rabbits in the headlights, and makes us spectators to their increasingly-despairing fight for survival. Variously, they plunge their hands into their own and other’s stomachs as blood red stains the grim greyness of their hell.

But Rabbitts’ skill is that this isn’t horror for horror sake. We aren’t the only ones watching them, as frequent glimpses of a bank of cctv screens make clear. The horror is that everything is being orchestrated.

Behind every false hope and every set-back is a devilish plot which the girls have got to unravel - a plot all the more horrifying for the fact that the film, just as Wolf Creek before it, is apparently inspired by real events….

Phil Hewitt