Streaming services have been getting a real workout as of late, but how many of us have truly plunged into the depths of what’s on offer beyond the trending and recommended titles?
Movie roulette is a growing trend among binge-watchers and when it comes to obscure, weird and wondering sci-fi and fantasy, Amazon Prime is worth a look. That’s exactly where I settled down for an interesting round of movie roulette, scrolling to the far reaches of those genres, outside of the greatest hits and what’s trending, and taking a chance on five films based on either a thumbnail, synopsis or trailer.
One more thing – a key rule in movie roulette is that once you start a film, you have to watch the entire thing…
Synopsis: “After a spaceship crash-lands in the centre of Moscow, a young woman finds herself torn between loyalty to her seemingly normal life and the culture of a new state of being promised by one of the aliens.”
For this movie, which is Russian, it was the trailer that got me hooked. And I’m glad it did.
The special effects are amazing; from the opening shot of an alien spacecraft and a stunning meteor shower, to the devastating destruction caused by a ship as it crash-lands into Moscow, Attraction has the look and feel of a major Hollywood blockbuster.
The story itself is a little by-the-numbers, but still decent. The major underlying message seems to be around communication and how it can be dangerous to act without all the correct information.
This movie was definitely a gem to find.
SPLIT SECOND (1992)
Synopsis: “In a flooded dystopian future, Detective Harley Stone hunts a serial killer who murdered his partner and has haunted him ever since. He soon discovers what he is hunting may not be human.”
What I love about movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s – especially in the horror and sci-fi genre – is that not everything requires an explanation. Many times, you finish a film and are left with questions that never get answered, mainly because not everything back then had a sequel or spin-off. As such, your imagination could run wild with speculation and theories.
While it wasn’t in the realm of his most iconic role (Blade Runner), Rutger Haur’s Harley Stone is a badass with a heart of gold. Although he pushes almost everyone away, those that can get close and breakdown his walls become almost like family and he will do everything he can to keep them safe.
After his partner was murdered by a serial killer, detective Stone has been on the hunt ever since. Although this movie is by no means a blockbuster, compared to other flicks I watched during this experiment, it’s pretty damn good.
THE DAWNSEEKER (2018)
Synopsis: “It’s the year 2248 and to save Earth’s sun, five mercenaries must survive the onslaught of an alien species and collect a rare mineral before their home planet goes dark forever.”
There was nothing about this movie worth remembering for me. What gets me the most is that I feel lied to. The opening shots of a dystopian future are quite cinematic and lead you to believe that if this is the beginning, then surely this will be the tone for the rest of the movie. You quickly find out this is not the case.
The costume department did a decent job, however, all pretense of a passable B-grade sci-fi flick went out the window when after they land on the new planet. At the very first firefight things start to go downhill, and fast. It seemed that most of the budget had been spent on the opening sequence.
I kept watching because I wanted to see how bad it could get, and at least in that department, I wasn’t disappointed. Yet the absolute worst part of this movie comes right at the end where it’s as though the writers just quit, and so they decided to just end the movie without explanation.
I honestly hated myself for watching this right to the end, and not following my gut instinct to abandon this film as soon as they landed on the planet.
Synopsis: “All of Manhattan is quarantined when the ‘Lupine Virus’ spreads like wildfire, turning innocent civilians into ravenous wolf-men. Nothing short of a nuclear blast can stop the monstrous virus… unless someone finds a cure.”
Okay, I’m a sucker for vampire and werewolf flicks, so it didn’t take much for this to make the list, and the description was the deciding factor.
The special effects were subpar at times, but the make-up team pulled their weight to deliver some great gory moments.
Unfortunately, the story didn’t help this movie. There didn’t appear to be a coherent storyline, and a lot of the characters’ actions made little to no sense. Seriously, if there was a sudden influx of werewolves in your local town or city, I doubt that you would be calm about it.
This is just a small selection of one genre, on one streaming service. Hopefully, my next venture into the unknown will bear some fruit worthy of sharing.
Until then, happy viewing and stay safe.
Lead image: ‘Attraction’ (2017)