Thursday, June 14, 2018


Well this was intense!
Blumhouse has certainly made a name for itself in recent years as THE horror studio in the film industry. Sure, not every Blumhouse film is perfect, but some of the most interesting horror films recently have come from them, Upgrade is another gem in their collection. A bloody sci-fi film that would probably fit more with an exploitation set you’d find in a bargain bin, Upgrade doesn’t look like you’re typical horror film, but once the ideas it puts forth begin to settle you may find yourself terrified.

The set up is not too unique, it’s in the not too distant future, the lead is a man who hates the way technology is changing humanity, preferring a less automated life style. After a visit with a client leaves both the man and his wife being attacked by a mysterious group of hitman, the lead, Grey (played by Logan Marshall-Green) is left a quadriplegic, his wife is murdered, thus setting our plot in motion. Grey is offered mobility by his client, through the use of a nano-chip named STEM, which along with given him use of his limbs again, reveals that it is also artificially intelligent.

I’ll get the weaknesses out of the way first, just because there’s not a lot, this is a fun movie and that it provided some themes that leave a chilling impression is pretty impressive. The earliest thing to bother me is the film’s choice to kill Grey’s wife to drive the plot, it just felt a tad much, I get it, this is meant to be reminiscent of trashy films from yesteryear, but not everything needs to be brought back, especially tropes that are just sexist; well, okay this at least it bothered me at first. Upgrade does eventually reveal why the wife’s death was necessary, so that aspect makes full sense by the time the credits roll, but I understand if the film’s eventual reasoning will not satisfy all. The issue that I actually felt bothered by is how predictable so much of the plot eventually becomes, none of it ruins the film mind you, in fact the film does throw some nice curveballs (still obvious) but I just wish the film was smarter in handling it’s own twists.

Minor gripes aside, this is a hell of a film, a thrill ride that never lets up. Every single time Upgrade uses STEM to show case movement, especially in action, it’s just beautiful. The smooth motion on Grey, the odd looking camera work and of course the gore, make for a brutal good time that is still amazing to imagine as I write this. The ending especially is chilling, obvious as it might’ve been, witnessing it left me silent, without giving it away, what was a pretty funny, cool to look at horror film in the future, becomes a chilling message about where we could be headed.

Upgrade is a blast to sit through in it’s entire 90 minute run, it’s not the most unique film, or the most surprising, but it does it’s job and than some. I loved so much in it, I’m willing to bet fans of bloody trash will love it too.

3 OUT OF 4

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Written by Octaviano Macias 

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