Saw and Insidious co-creator Leigh Whannell switches genres and delivers an ambitious sci-fi thriller (shot in Melbourne) about a paralysed technophobe who becomes the test subject for a computer implant with a mind of its own.
Grey Trace (Tom Hardy lookalike Logan Marshall-Green) is an old school guy who prefers muscle cars over the driverless variety favoured by his wife, Asha (Melanie Vallejo).
When a malfunction strands them in a bad neighbourhood one night, Asha is murdered by a couple of thugs and Grey is left a quadriplegic and the perfect candidate for a revolutionary new technology known as STEM – a computer chip that bridges the gap between mind and limbs. Before long, Grey is back on his feet and discovering his new OS is also capable of acting independently and making conversation in a calm Hal-like tone. Assisting him in tracking down his wife’s killer, STEM becomes a cyber puppet master, turning Grey into a lethal killing machine with ninja-like abilities.
Watching the intense Marshall-Green losing control of his body is just one of the highlights of this relentlessly entertaining B-flick that upgrades the revenge tale and buddy movie with gritty low budget neon noir, creatively shot fight sequences, and ample splashes of gore. It’s also perhaps the first movie where someone is killed by a lethal sneeze!
Whannell wears his influences proudly, from The Terminator and RoboCop to Videodrome and Monkey Shines, and the resulting blend has all the flavour of an ’80s sci-fi action flick. A slick and affectionate throwback to the days of VHS comfort viewing.
In cinemas: June 14, 2018
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson
Directed by: Leigh Whannell