Film Festivals

TIFF 2018: Nekrotronic Review

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here.

Synopsis: A man who discovers that he is part of a secret sect of magical beings who hunt down and destroy demons in the internet. (IMDB)

Starring: Ben O’Toole, Monica Bellucci, and Caroline Ford

Writers: Kiah Roache-Turner and Tristan Roache-Turner

Director:  Kiah Roache-Turner

Rating: 14A (Canada)

Running Time: 99mins

Trailer: n/a

It’s not hard to predict what a film like Nekrotronic will bring to the table. Due to this, expectations are the film’s biggest obstacle: is it actually as gory, and entertaining, as one would expect? Before many even see the film, there’ll undoubtedly be expectations set for what kind of film this turns out to be. The good news is, Nekrotronic meets all the expectations one could have for it. It’s insane in the best way possible. It doesn’t hold back on the gore, or the vulgarity. The Roache-Turners very much understand their target audience, most of whom will not be disappointed by Nekrotronic.

Within the first five minutes, it’s clear whether or not this film will be for you. It’s cheesy, ridiculous and over-the-top, right from the start. Roache-Turner starts off by showing that Nekrotronic isn’t going to be your typical film: it’s 99 minutes of pure adrenaline thrill ride. It’s not for everybody, but those who have enjoyed films from this sub-genre before will almost certainly be satisfied.

The film begins with an expositional narration of how the world came to this point. What is usually considered a cheap way to introduce the background of a story, it fits with the tone of the film. The  audience is then introduced to Howard, the lead character. He’s not necessarily relatable, or realistic, but the nature of the performances add to the effect of the film. If the circumstances are ridiculous, why not have the characters be the same way? It’s obvious that the decisions made by Roache-Turner are made with purpose, and for the most part, it works. The supporting cast, which include Monica Bellucci, Benedict Hardie and Caroline Ford, is terrific, perhaps even more so than the lead. The strongest aspect of the film is how well Roache-Turner seems to understand the type of film he’s crafting.

The effects are also terrific. The look of the film is incredible. The sets, visuals and cinematography are all top-notch and they help the film in establishing its atmosphere. The soundtrack, which includes one of the best uses of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” is wonderful. The action sequences are filmed in an effective way that draws the audience in. The story itself isn’t anything new, but it’s still interesting to follow. At its best, the film reminds you of The Cornneto Trilogy. At its worst, it’s still a damn entertaining film.

The worst parts of Nekrotronic lie in the way the story’s told. At times, especially towards the end, the film drags its feet. Not in any significant manner, but sometimes it veers in a direction that doesn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the film. There are some subplots that seem unfocused on the goal at hand, which are the difference between the film being being good and being great. Saying that, it’s very much on the border of being a great film. There aren’t many moments that seem dull, and the running time is appropriate given the story. By the end of the film, you really come to like the characters, which is definitely a positive. Nobody seeing Nekrotronic will expect strong, interesting characters, but Roache-Turner manages to excel even at that.

At the end of the day, nobody that sees Nekrotronic will expect it to be anything more than ridiculous fun. Roache-Turner delivers on that end, and shows that he has the potential to become a great director. There are some pieces still missing from the film, especially in the storytelling, that hold it back. Despite its flaws, it’s still entertaining throughout its whole running time.

Making a distinction between “this type of film” and “that type of film” can be a rabbit hole: it creates unwarranted expectations for future films of its kind. Films can rarely be neatly categorized into just one genre. But, Nekrotronic is a film that is, very obviously, made for a niche group of filmgoers. It almost requires that type of distinction to be made. Roache-Turner has made a film for his fans, and for what it is, Nekrotronic will not disappoint.

Score: 7.5/10

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