The wheels seemed to be coming off Chloë Grace Moretz’s career last year with the risible Shadow in the Clouds followed by the questionable Tom and Jerry Movie. Low budget sci-fi flick Mother/Android, written and directed by Mattson Tomlin, is no masterpiece but it’s a step in the right direction and it allows Moretz to remind us that she still has good dramatic acting chops when she’s got some halfway decent material to sink her teeth into.

In the (presumably) near future, Georgia Olden (Moretz) discovers on Christmas Eve that she is pregnant with the child of her boyfriend Sam (Algee Smith). Unfortunately, she’s not sure she’s yet ready for the commitment of motherhood, nor is she sure she wants to remain in a relationship with Sam. The point appears to become moot when a strange mechanical screeching turns domestic androids violent and murderous. Chaos ensues. Nine months later we find Georgia and Sam sheltering in the woods, determined to reach a fortified Boston where, they have heard, a boat is transporting new mothers to Asia – it’s suggested that the android outbreak is restricted to the United States.  Androids with glowing eyes are on the prowl, wiping out humanity in a style that Skynet itself would be proud of. Can Georgia and Sam stay together and reach their sanctuary or will fate tear them apart even before their baby is born?

Mother/Android belies its low budget – we see only a quick flash of the post-screech carnage and there are some understated but effective background shots of burning/burnt-out cities – by focussing on character and relationships rather than spectacle. Nine months on and the pair are a little more bonded, working together for the sake of their unborn and the often frustratingly-muted dialogue – speak up, the pair of you! – is enlivened by the odd thrilling set piece such as a genuinely-exciting bike chase. The androids are pretty much zombies by another name but they’re really a backdrop to the human drama well played-out by Moretz and Smith and later Raul Castillo as fellow survivor Arthur whose arrival leads to a neat twist that swerves the film off into another direction.

Similarities to A Quiet Place notwithstanding – at one point Georgia even underlines the fact that they need to keep quiet to avoid the android predators – Mother/Android as a diverting, if rather slight, genre piece well-constructed by Tomlin that makes the most of its resources by telling a familiar story with heart, warmth and intelligence and, more importantly perhaps, it provides the first signs of a career resurgence for Chloë Grace Moretz.

MOTHER/ANDROID is streaming on Netflix now