Review: In Bed

Written and directed by Nitzan Gilady, Guy and his best friend Joy are enjoying the gay pride parade to the fullest, when their bliss is abruptly put to an end by a deadly shooting. Fleeing the scene into the safety of Guy’s home, they take in a fellow pride parader, Dan, who seems in shock. With the shooter still on the run, they enter a night full of sex, drugs and paranoia. Starring: Israel Ogalbo, Dean Miroshnikov and Moran Rosenblatt.

Firstly, the idea for In Bed is excellent, that intimate and claustrophobic setting is perfect for exploring the fear and anxiety associated with the gay community existing in places where hate crimes and homophobia are commonplace. Especially in how it slowly ramps up the intensity, implying a sense of disillusionment which subsides as the reality of the danger sets in. It also gives its characters a great opportunity to discuss all the political and personal issues which arise when being put in such a drastic situation. Creating a very raw quality by putting everything on edge.

However, it doesn’t feel like Nitzan Gilady makes the most of that, as the style of the film veers more towards horror territory than a drama with a thriller edge. It actually creates an interesting question about whether the film would have been suited to just straight horror, as when you look at it as a whole, it could have made for a fascinating interpretation. It has the intensity, the fear and the suspicion which would perfectly suit the genre. That choice could have given even more weight to the anxiety faced by queer communities in homophobic countries. Especially as it has such a strong atmosphere.

Another intensifying element is undoubtedly the performances, the way that each of them become more broken and vulnerable as time goes on. Israel Ogalbo starts off strong giving Guy a lot of confidence and sensuality then makes the cracks appear as his drug use pushes him into a downward spiral. Highlighting the emotions that he’s been suppressing about his family life and how self-medication plays into the struggle. Dean Miroshnikov brings a great element of mystery, he’s slow to peel back the layers of Dan and satisfyingly so, as there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. Moran Rosenblatt is portraying a very melded blend of strength and weakness, as well as a fierce loyalty. Although, the writing pushes a bit too harshly on her vulnerability and loneliness, almost to the point of making their one female character feel pathetic, which is unfortunate.

In Bed started with a superb idea, a great setting and an impactful atmosphere but feels like it didn’t fulfil its potential. It left a bit too much space for diving deep into the issues at play and opened up a huge opportunity for exploring the story through horror which is missed. The performances do perfect justice to the intensity of the story and Nitzan Gilady’s direction has a real grasp on building a dark edge. There’s a lot on offer but it’s sadly not making the most of it.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

Screened as part of London’s Seret International Israeli Film Festival 2023 & releasing in the UK October 2023

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