Written and directed by Drew Bolduc, ASSASSINAUT is a glorious SciFi thriller throwback to the 1970s. The landscape, merged with diffused lighting and an electronic soundtrack are perfect for telling the story of a group of jettisoned teens fighting to survive on a new planet. The look evoked a gritty, dreamlike quality in the film, and was a welcome change from today’s high tech blockbuster films. Hooray for indie films!
ASSASSINAUT is centered on Sarah (Shannon Hutchinson) who has been chosen to visit the Presidential Space Station along with three other teens; Charlie (Marie Jasmina) who is here to make her parents proud, Brooke (Yael Haskal) the girl who can fix anything, and Tom (Johnathan Newport) who is a bit younger than the others and is only here because his parents thought it would look good on a resume for this obviously budding politician. Their eventual leader and future enemy is Commander (Vito Trigo) who nails the role. He is both annoyed that children are being sent into space, and impressed that they survive.
An attack on the space station leads to our team being shoved into an escape pod, then landing them on a barely inhabited planet, where a nonexistent food supply leads to hallucinatory food experiments and Alien-esque visuals. One by one, our team dwindles, leading us down a path that, for once, I did not guess ahead of time (colour me impressed, well done Mr. Bolduc). My one issue is the repeated referral to the team as ‘children’, there is truly just one child in the group, Tom; the rest are clearly mid to late teens as shown by their level of maturity, though I suspect this was done to show how the adults around them underestimated the group, treating them more as a publicity stunt and not future astronauts.
Much credit to the effects team, the practical effects were a blast to witness (CGI has its place, but practical effects reign supreme in horror), very David Cronenberg, and I loved it! From squirming alien fish to bursting pustules, the gore was intense and well done, without being overdone.
ASSASSINAUT is great storytelling combined with visuals you won’t forget, you definitely want to see this especially if you’re a fan of body horror!
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