Spectral (2016)

Directed by Nic Mathieu

Written by George Nolfi

Starring James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini and Ursula Parker

Netflix brings us this exclusive not-quite-horror-but-close-enough-to-include-it-o-this-site military themed science fiction thriller. A team of scientists is brought into a European military conflict to decipher the mystery behind a new weapon or possibly technology that is giving their opponents the appearance and seemingly spectral abilities of supernatural spirits.

Spectral is the very essence of good, not great. It’s a rock solid film with good acting, strong visuals and an interesting premise. The shot on location Euro locales look great dressed down as war torn battlefields. Coupled with the pseudo futuristic military tech and we have what essentially looks like a lost Neil Blomkamp film. It features his trademark grit-and-gears look that complements the action.

There’s also an interesting hook for the plot that boils down to science vs supernatural. The age old fires of skeptic vs believer is stoked as both us and our team of cannon fodder attempt to determine if the antagonists are actually angry ghosts or rather a newly developed weapon of war. It’s a neat idea with an interesting conclusion.

At its root, Spectral is exciting, well filmed and well executed. Yet it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself outside of the pack with the exception of the potentially ghostly antics. Universal pulled this from theatres before it had a chance which may have been a saving grace as it’s a perfect rainy day watch.

Spectral is an entertaining and exciting genre mashup with a bit of brain beneath the brawn. If you have a Netflix subscription, go check it out because it’s certainly worth a watch.

3/5 beds of iron shavings

Splatter Factor: 0.5/5  – This film manages to skirt the gore via the clever ruse that makes the spectral assassins  so dangerous: all they have to do is rush at you and pass through your body. No muss, no fuss. No blood. Virtually all the kills are the same which makes this a dry action flick save for a few combat related scuffs, scrapes and scratches.


The Collective speaks:

We are Legionnaires yet we do not abdicate war outside of a vital necessity. That said, when our phantasmic brethren are being antagonized by human military forces, it is time to take matters into our own fleshless hands. Thus it comes to pass that we ascend from the realm beyond and inflict as much pain as possible. Unless of course, our forces ae entirely made by the very mortal hands that we wish to assimilate. We recommend viewing an entertaining action-horror-scifi yarn to determine for sure. 


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