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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SIMPLE CREATURE -- Movie Review by Porfle

A keg party meet-cute between sophisticated city girl Em (Carollani Sandberg) and old-fashioned farm boy Seth (D'Angelo Midili) leads to a quirky yet believable courtship. 

We predict romance and its usual complications, with either a happy or tragic resolution, but what surprises us is when SIMPLE CREATURE (Indican Pictures, 2016) takes a sharp left turn into the sci-fi genre after such a mundane build-up and is all the more convincing for it. 

We're not really sure where the story's going at first, as it initially focuses on Em's college life full of wild parties, drinking too much, etc. and then switches its P.O.V. to show Seth's plight after his dad dies and the farm's in danger of having to be sold even though this may kill his invalid mother.  The two meet halfway, literally, in a motel between city and country, and ponder their future together--if they indeed have one.

So far, the story is passable human drama.  We learn that Em and her emotionally distant father have barely related to one another since her mother's death. Seth, on the other hand, is desperate to keep his farm, mainly for his mother's sake, as his creditors close in.  Not exactly edge-of-your-seat stuff, but still the basis for an interesting story if handled well.   

What happens next is one of those great unexpected moments that a film is able to pull on us from time to time, elevating it in the blink of an eye to a whole different level. 

I won't give it away, but this where the sci-fi comes in--Em is suddenly in critical condition, and the only thing that can save her is the fact that her father is part of a top-secret scientific project known as "Singularity" involving artificially-enhanced human beings, and she has come along at just the right time to become its main guinea pig.

Now we're talking. From this point, SIMPLE CREATURE spins an absorbing speculative tale in which Em receives life-saving human and artificial organ transplants along with an electronic device embedded in her brain which enables her to interface with a computer.  But while seemingly super-human, she struggles to regain lost memories and even her identity as a person, to the point of wondering if she still has a soul.

Writer-director Andrew Finnigan is treading into "Frankenstein" territory here, as well as recalling a number of interesting sci-fi stories about identity and humanity and technology gone too far.  When Em finally escapes from the lab and into the (wild) world, as we know she will, the "Stranger in a Strange Land" aspect is explored along with her plight as a fugitive struggling to stay one step ahead of potentially sinister pursuers. 

Em's eventual reunion with Seth dredges up the romance angle again with a dark twist--believing her dead all this time, he doesn't know what to make of the hybrid creature that suddenly confronts him.  His involvement with a fringe conspiracy cult holding their meetings in his barn also bodes ill when they find out about her.  Suffice it to say, "complications ensue."

SIMPLE CREATURE is one of those satisfying sci-fi thrillers where imagination, clever writing, and sharp performances take the place of a big budget and flashy SPFX.  Even the downbeat ending seems right, especially if you're a fan of George Orwell. 

Tech Specs
Runtime: 92mins
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: DolbySR
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Sci-Fi

Amazon Video


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