Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner’s sci-fi horror-comedy Nekrotronic seems to have nearly as many detractors as ardent admirers judging by the reviews after the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The pro-camp lauded the film, one of 10 titles which screened in the Midnight Madness section, as insane fun with fantastical story elements and tongue-in-cheek humour. The naysayers derided the plot as over-the-top, silly and formulaic.
Produced by Andrew Mason and Troy Lum for Hopscotch Features and Tristan Roache-Turner for Guerrilla Films, the film stars Monica Bellucci as Finnegan, CEO of the sinister Daemokon corporation, who is determined to feast on every human soul on the planet via a new smartphone app.
Ben O’Toole and Epine Bob Savea play waste disposal workers who find themselves caught up in the conflict between Finnegan and a trio of Nekromancers: Luther (David Wenham) and his daughters Molly (Caroline Ford) and Torquel (Tess Haubrich).
But when O’Toole’s character discovers an unexpected connection with Finnegan, he unwittingly becomes humanity’s last and best hope for salvation.
Among the raves, The Reel Roundup’s review likened the film to equal parts The Matrix, Ghostbusters and Evil Dead, with a touch of An American Werewolf in London thrown in.
The critic said: “With no shortage of gore, fantastical story elements and tongue-in-cheek humour, this is a crowd-pleasing genre-mashup that only gets more insane as it builds to its blood-soaked, head-exploding finale.”
Culture of Gaming.com’s John Powell Tweeted: “Ghostbusters meets Hellraiser meets Evil Dead meets…Pokemon Go?!?!?….and that’s a good thing.”
Keithlovesmovies’ Anthony Le opined: “It’s insane in the best way possible. It doesn’t hold back on the gore or the vulgarity. The Roache-Turners very much understand their target audience, most of whom will not be disappointed by Nekrotronic.”
Bloody Disgusting’s Joe Lipsett was less enamoured, describing O’Toole as solid in the zero-to-hero role and praising his rapport with Savea, but he found the plot silly and formulaic.
“Technically speaking, the film boasts a plethora of special effects to showcase everything from possessions to the way a soul travels along through the internet,” he said. “The results fall somewhere between Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners and the childish goofiness of the Goosebumps films. Fans of Ghostbusters, The Matrix, The Evil Dead and Re-Animator will likely get a chuckle from the bevy of homages.”
Now magazine’s Normal Wilner was unimpressed, describing the movie as extremely dopey and declaring: “It’s chaotic and splattery and very, very dumb, with a couple of fun ideas occasionally breaking through: O’Toole has a surprisingly gentle chemistry with Caroline Ford’s hardened demon hunter and Epine Bob Savea plays a spectral sidekick with goofy enthusiasm. Midnight audiences will eat it up; the rest of us will wish it were as smart or funny as the movies it leans on so heavily.”
Entertainment One will launch the film, which was co-funded by Screen Australia and Create NSW next year. Sierra/Affinity is handling worldwide sales.