04th May2018

Sci-Fi London 2018: ‘Chimera’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Henry Ian Cusick, Kathleen Quinlan, Erika Ervin, Jenna Harrison, Karishma Ahluwalia, Jennifer Gjulameti, Raviv Haeems, Kaavya Jayaram | Written and Directed by Maurice Haeems

chimera-poster

‘Medical horror’ is strange sub genre that could contain a wide range of movies. From The Fly to The Human Centipede trilogy to Frankenstein to Re-Animator. Each of those movies is very different but each of them also share some similarities with the latest movie in that list, Chimera.

Chimera follows one man, a father and scientist who wants to freeze his children alive in the hope that it will give him time to create a cure for the deadly disease they both have. Henry Ian Cusick plays the father, Quint, and he is a good actor to have you revolve your movie around. Known mainly for his TV work in Lost and The 100, Cusick puts in a strong, believable performance and he really does hold the film together. His character could easily have become almost villain-like but it’s a testament to his acting abilities and the writing that Quint isn’t that at all. You always have sympathy for him and believe that he is doing what he thinks is best for his family. Maybe unsurprisingly the rest of the performances aren’t quite up to this high standard, a few of the characters becoming almost, but not quite, comical. But at least the ‘evil’ characters are easy to despise. That said, nothing stops the film-makers vision being shown.

Chimera has what I assume is a relatively low budget. I say assume because what money the director had, he spent extremely well. The picture is sharp, the colours are bright and the movie looks a lot more expensive than I feel it actually was. The cinematography is great, every scene is lit perfectly and the every shot creates a good atmosphere. It all looks very ‘science-fiction’ but without the need for spaceships, aliens or anything so obvious. The sci-fi story is good enough and doesn’t need anything extra.

The story is something that opens up lots of questions in your mind. What would you do in a similar situation is the big question that will come up. You’ll think that something like this could be very real in the not to distant future and the film does well to feel authentic and realistic without the viewer having to be a a science buff to understand it all. And you don’t need to be anyone but a happy movie watcher to understand the emotion that runs through Chimera. You will feel all those emotions with an ending that leaves you a little bit reeling and it’s one that you don’t quite seem ready for.

Chimera is original science fiction done right. A strong story and a good lead performance are almost all that is needed. This is a debut for writer/director Maurice Haeems and I’ll be very interested to see what he can come up with next.

*** 3/5

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