CERT: PG | RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 23RD
Five specially selected teenagers must battle a super-computer to win the ultimate prize in this family sci-fi adventure. Max Winslow (Sydne Mikelle) is a high school student who spends most of her time in her room, hacking computers and being a grade-A student when one day, local billionaire Atticus Virtue (Chad Michael Murray), invites five of his old high school’s students to take part in a game of wits, guts, and intelligence at his teched-out mansion. But, as Max and her opponents begin to realise that this isn’t as easy as it may seem, the group of flawed characters are pushed to their boundaries and changed forever.
The easiest way to describe this low-budget and choppy title is ‘Willy Wonka meets Escape Room’ – a simple premise that we’ve seen before but updated to incorporate the tech generation with such 2D generic characters as the brainiac, the gamer, the social media-obsessed, and the bully. Whereas this may seem like an interesting take on the formula, what lets this film down is the poorly written unnatural dialogue between the characters, their unlikeable personalities, and an overall tone that feels very ‘Nickelodeon’.
At times it shows a glimmer of intrigue and some impressive effects to hammer home the sci-fi nature before devolving into a disappointing anti-climactic mess with PS2-style VFX and laughably bad pacing. Max Winslow was definitely inspired by some classic ideas that have come before it and will ultimately provide some thrills and a strong moral message for a younger audience, but it sadly misses the mark due to the mediocre screenplay and performances.