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Spectral (2016)

Spectral (2016)

IMDB sums this one very simply, as a sci-fi/thriller story centered on a special-ops team that is dispatched to fight supernatural beings.

It stars the relatively unknown James Badge Dale as Darpa researcher Clyde, who seems to be able to build something out of anything, no matter what tools he has at hand. In an unnaturally short amount of time he doesn't just build one, but a whole set of state-of-the-art plasma rifles out of scrap in what seems like a moment's notice, that he and his team then embark with to beat an unbeatable foe. They're untested weapons, as the commander in chief points out, but of course they all work fine.

I did raise an eyebrow during that final phase, but I'm getting ahead of myself. It starts eerie. It plays with both sci-fi and supernatural, with an intrigue that builds up fast, paranormal entities that don't seem to have a weakness, or explanation, and a military group in a war-torn Moldavia who are soon holed up against an army of ghosts of war. Ethereal beings with a vengeful will, but human in form. Who are they? What are they? And more importantly: how do you kill them?

It is a scary story, and it gets scarier when logic is applied to it. It looks good. The effects are great. The ghosts feel perceptible, and some moments do feel truly hopeless. But not all. Sometimes the main characters seem too sheltered, and the tension levels drop slightly. Like we need a pause in the tension. I'll tell you: we don't! Just keep it going. Had they managed to keep it consistent I would've have beads of sweat on my brow when it was all over, but unfortunately the atmosphere shifts, and the element of fear isn't always present. I think that could've turned this from an impressively immersive war movie, to a nerve-wracking one. But it was good.

I don't recognize most of the guys on the army team, but Max Martini at least is a familiar and appreciated face, that always-Army guy. He fits the role more than the rest of them, but everyone puts on a good performance, and the ending CGI was something else. It wasn't all the way through perfect, but creative: an eerie action movie, with a false enemy, and a real enemy that died at the hands of their creation. Which just makes it all the more... mystical. I do like that mood.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle


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