At the twisted nerve center of actor and writer-turned-director Leigh Whannell’s low-budget horror/thriller is an artificial intelligence that’s soon to be implanted into the neo-cortex of Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), a Luddite car mechanic who feels woefully out of place in a near future that’s not as utopian as it seems. Case in point: the violent mugging that kills his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) and leaves him a quadriplegic. But when Eron (Harrison Gilbertson)—the Elon Musk-like billionaire who Grey recently constructed an old-fashioned muscle car for—offers to restore use of the grease monkey’s limbs, Grey reluctantly agrees. The experimental procedure will fuse an AI chip dubbed STEM (voiced by actor Simon Maiden, who supplies his best HAL 9000 impression) onto his spine. It’s here that Whannell’s darkly comic horror impulses—the 41-year-old Aussie is one of the creators of the Saw franchise—overtake the film, just as STEM takes control of Grey’s motor functions. It turns out that STEM provides not only arm and leg movement, but also an automated (and inventively well-choreographed) killing ability that comes in handy when Whannell transforms his film into a Death Wish-styled revenge picture as the unusual buddy team of Grey and STEM track down Asha’s killers with a detective (Get Out’s Betty Gabriel) hot on their trail. It’s silly, predictable fun for audiences who enjoy old-school splashes of creative violence. (At Assembly RowBoston CommonFenwaySeaportSouth Bay and in the suburbs)

Related Articles

Comments are closed.