From the “twisted minds” (as marketing executives like to say) behind Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014), comes Nekrotronic, a horror-comedy about demons, superheroes with magic powers and the internet.
For those of you who are familiar with Wyrmwood (a movie I really love), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nekrotronic is over-the-top, demented and nonsensical. Or, at least, that’s what the Aussie filmmakers (Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner) were going for. The story is, in fact, pretty insane: Howard, a happy-go-lucky and naïve dude, discovers to be of a secret organisation of magical beings who hunt down and destroy demons in the internet. The demons are led by Finnegan (Monica Bellucci) and their goal is to suck the life out of people in order to make their queen immortal and to summon a sort of ultimate devil.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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My review is also available on IMDb – Nekrotronic (2019)
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Due to its 2018 premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and the creative freedom coming from the success of Wyrmwood, I was expecting Nekrotronic (now available on VOD and DVD worldwide) to be “an organised mess”, a self-aware piece of horror-comedy with stupid action, unique style and glorious Australian humour.
Bad news: Nekrotronic is a dull, uninspired and jumbled clusterfuck. Among plenty of issues this picture suffers from, the main problem is that it follows the dull formula of tons of silly and overly produced blockbusters. With a few action/horror-related sequences scattered throughout, huge chunks of Nekrotronic are dedicated to one-note characters explaining what’s going on and what they must do to each other: this movie is just a gigantic exposition dump that is as effective as a guy reading the script to the viewer in a monotone voice.
Since I mentioned the characters, I might just as well point at their lack of depth combined with the fact that they’re really annoying and straight-faced. As opposed to having a set of witty and snarky protagonists that engage in offense and quirky banter, everyone appears as a block of wood spouting out bad dialogue and obvious exposition. There’s a single character who’s there only for comedic relief: he doesn’t serve any purpose and it utters the most on-the-nose, predictable jokes you can think of.
This movie, unfortunately, really reminded me of the two biggest fuck-ups of the year (excluding some terrible horror flicks): Polar and Hellboy. Just like those two movies and many subpar summer blockbusters, Nekrotronic fails at being entertaining because most of the film is dedicated to uninteresting, dull sequences charged with underdeveloped characters, terrible dialogue and poorly thought-out execution.
While we’re mentioning other titles, it’s worth noting that Nekrotronic is completely derivative, both in terms of storyline and single sequences: this movie comes off as a rip-off of various superhero flicks, Ghostbusters (1984) and Turbo Kid (2015). It, also, heavily relies on references to pop culture for its humour, which I find to be one of the laziest and most uninspired ways to connect to the audience.
Even when jokes aren’t based on references, they fall flat as they’re poorly written and overused. This movie never attempts at any form of visual gags, which means its “comedy” only comes from bad dialogue delivered by uninteresting characters.
In terms of filmmaking, Nekrotronic feels really bland and unbalanced. Every action scene is filmed in the same way, with no creativity nor any exciting camera angles. The surprising lack of gore and practical effects also makes this movie feel workmanlike and stale, with the purposefully bad CGI becoming more and more annoying as the movie progresses. Overall, the filmmakers’ intention seems to aim at making a B-movie that could become a cult classic, but it results into a final product that feels cocky and pretentious.
There are only a few elements that prevent Nekrotronic from being a complete train wreck, such as the distinctive use of bright colours that make the picture somewhat bombastic. Some of the transformation scenes (from human to demon) are very entertaining, in a cheesy, B-movie way. The sound-design seems effortless as it’s impossible to notice any odd or inappropriate noise within the film. I, also, found a couple of jokes towards the beginning to land rather well, on a superficial level.
In conclusion, Nekrotronic fails as a comedy by being dull and annoying; it doesn’t achieve anything in the horror department, as the demon-related stuff in the movie feels more unintentionally goofy than scary; it fails at being entertaining and quirky, as most of the film is dull and derivative. I truly hope Wyrmwood wasn’t a fluke and that the next movie these guys direct will be something worth sitting through.
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