Dan Stevens stars in this sci-fi action film, Kill Switch.
Set in the near future, Energy Company Alterplex has pioneered a radical new source of energy. Former pilot Will Porter (Dan Stevens) is hired by them for a mysterious role, the benefits of which include flying his sister and nephew to Amsterdam where they are all set up in an expensive house. However, things don’t go to plan when the energy source swings wildly out of control.
Kill Switch (also known as Redivider) splits itself in to two sections that intertwine. Separated by the defining event, the activation of Alterplex’s power source, we have one half that charts the events leading up to it, which is told in the usual third person narrative style, and the second half which shows what happens to Will afterwards as he tries to shut the machine down. This section is shot entirely in first person, following on from films such as Hardcore Henry and the Elijah Wood starring gory horror Maniac. Here is the film’s biggest problem. The first person section, while trying to immerse us into Will’s world, only really works during action sequences. These are exciting and are bolstered by some good sound design. Where it falls down is when it attempts drama or plot. This isn’t helped by the fact that Dan Steven’s voice is obviously detached from the actor portraying him onscreen. You can almost hear him stood on his own in the sound booth. The first person section has a very video-gamey feel, complete with a HUD display and red filter when Will gets injured. Unsurprising really, as the short film Kill Switch was spun from (called What’s in the Box – it’s very good, you should check it out on YouTube) was itself influenced by seminal first person shooter Half Life 2.
That’s not to say that Kill Switch is an entire failure. As we’ve already said, the action sequences are fun and the visual effects are good, as they should be, director Tim Smit has several visual effects credits to his name; you never see the joins and Smit has stretched his meager budget well. The first person sections are shot fairly well with everything in focus and coherent; there’s barely a hint of shaky cam that can blight other films like this. The performances are solid but there’s just no meat on the bones of the film. Its emotional drama, provided by Will’s family who are unhappy in their new home and who Will attempts to save from a crumbling world, falls flat and outside of the action, there’s not much to the film.
Kill Switch is entertaining enough in fits and starts but its first person perspective is a problem, and though some of the action is fun, the film lacks any depth or heart.
KILL SWITCH / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: TIM SMIT / SCREENPLAY: CHARLIE KINDINGER, OMID NOOSHIN / STARRING: DAN STEVENS, CHARITY WAKEFIELD, BÉRÉNICE MARLOHE / RELEASE DATE: 24TH JULY