IT LIVES **
Directed by: Richard Mundy, Starring: Andrew Kinsler.Sci-Fi/horror, UK 2016, 88mins, Cert 15.
Released in the UK on DVD on 6th August 2018 by Second Sight Films.
“But you are not alone”.
In the year 2024, the doomsday clock is mere seconds from midnight. In response, multinational conglomerates create twelve secret underground bunkers to be inhabited by a carefully selected group known as ‘Priority One’ once the nukes start flying. Each bunker is maintained by a lone scientist known as an ‘Undertaker’. Roy (Andrew Kinsler) is one such caretaker of subterranean bunker ‘Plethura’. His only companion is a (non-vocalised) HAL-9000ish computer named ‘Arthur’ who tries to cheer him up with screen messages such as, “Would you like a hug Roy?” Then the bunker seals itself in an apparent reaction to nuclear fallout up above. Roy’s sanity is put to the ultimate test as he questions the reality of his situation, and the feeling that he is not alone down there...
Writer/director/producer/editor/production designer Richard Mundy’s 2016 debut feature, aka TWENTY-TWENTY FOUR, plays like an incredibly drawn out pre-opening credit sequence from an episode of ‘Doctor Who’. Unfortunately, at no point does Peter Capaldi burst through the hatch to explain what is actually going on.
Echoes of Duncan Jones’ MOON (2009) reverberate through the sterile underground sets in this micro-budgeted exercise in claustrophobia. Visually, the thrifty production design, lighting and cinematography admirably manage to squeeze every last drop of atmosphere and tension they can muster – even if those corridors look at times to be far too flimsy to withstand a nuclear holocaust. And I did like the motion tracking computer graphics consisting of 2 white dots careening around a maze as if about to be swallowed up by Pac-Man.
Andrew Kinsler essays the increasingly paranoid scientist ‘Roy’ with a fully committed performance. It’s not however a sympathetic or particularly convincing role. He’s not helped by having to deliver some pretty stilted dialogue whilst being gifted with nothing to do as a supposed scientist except vigorously pump leavers up and down.
Director Mundy works hard to achieve a creeping sense of dread and for a time it kind of works. However, this was accompanied incrementally by my own increasing sense of dread that the film was heading towards a thoroughly underwhelming climax. My fears proved justified. IT LIVES doesn’t live up to its initial promise and ends up hermetically sealing itself in.
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