ASSASSINAUT / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DREW BOLDUC / STARRING: SHANNON HUTCHINSON, VITO TRIGO, JASMINA PARENT / RELEASE DATE: 30TH JULY (USA)
Assassinaut is a low-budget sci-fi adventure movie that swings wildly between dream-like drama and slasher horror. It follows the journey of four children selected to meet the President (presumably of the world) on the presidential space station. The meeting goes wrong and the inhabitants flee the station, crashing on a distant alien world. The kids then decide to rescue the President. Unfortunately, the station’s commander is slowly turning into a killer mutant and is stalking the children...
If that sounds convoluted and a little derivative, then we’ve under-sold the plot. This movie is mostly incoherent throughout. It’s not that the story is hard to follow, it’s just that they’ve packed a lot into a very short movie and none of it really works. We open with a scene involving some sort of alien peace treaty gone wrong, then cut to child’s sci-fi fantasy - neither of these scenes do anything to serve the narrative. The movie only really starts 20 minutes in which, given that it’s only 80 minutes long, is not good.
There’s an old saying when it comes to creating stories - “kill your darlings.” By which they mean that in order to tell a strong script, you need to ruthlessly edit the thing, including trimming away really good bits that just don’t add to the story. Assasainaut is one such example of what happens when you don’t apply rigour.
The practical effects are very good, with old school rubber monsters, buckets of gore and some lovely-looking alien things that wouldn’t look amiss in some classic 80’s sci-fi horror. The problem is that the scenes with these effects in tend to add little to the picture. Most of the story seems like a way of framing yet another remarkable special effects shot or some other cool looking thing. There’s a pile of nice ideas here and, given the low budget, it’s clear to see that there is a lot of talent in both the cast and crew.
Assassinaut is a waste of time for everyone involved and should be avoided, unless you really, really like practical horror effects. Still, it’s a solid showreel for the talent involved. We profoundly hope that the next project from director Drew Bolduc includes a decent script editor.