09th Aug2019

‘Nekrotronic’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Ben O’Toole, Dave Beamish, Monica Bellucci, Charmaine Bingwa, Caroline Ford, Benedict Hardie, Tess Haubrich, William Cheung | Written by Kiah Roache-Turner, Tristan Roache-Turner | Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner

Nekrotronic-poster

Coming from writer and director Kiah Roache-Turner, I was very much looking forward to new Australian horror comedy Nekrotronic. His previous movie Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead was a fantastic all action kick up the ass that the zombie genre needed, so a new movie from him about demons sounded even more intriguing. And we’ve had to wait five long years for it!

It would be too simple to say this is a movie about ghosts. Even if you opened that up a little and said it was a ‘supernatural’ movie, that would be too simple. Because this involves demons, the Internet, zombies (kind of), possession and yes, ghosts.

Our lead character – Howie (Ben O’Toole) – discovers that he is part of a secret sect of magical beings that hunt down and kill demons inside the Internet. It actually sounds a lot stranger than it plays out and the ‘inside the Internet’ part isn’t as weird as you might think. If you’ve seen the Samuel L. Jackson horror Cell, it’s a bit like that.

What we do get is an action-packed and crazier version of Ghostbusters, with a nice modern twist. The twist is that the ghosts kind of rely on wi-fi, or at least to be seen they do. As people around the world are playing a spooky ghost-filled version of Pokemon Go. On a side note, does such a game exist? If it doesn’t, it needs to and if it does, I need to play it! Anyway, this games leads Howie to inadvertently discover who he is and also helps the big bad villain (played by Monica Belluci) enhance her powers.

I really did get that Ghostbuster vibe when watching Nekrotronic and that is no doubt a good thing. From the comedy, to the team getting matching outfits, to the weapons that don’t look completely dissimilar to proton packs and help them defeat the demons. But this movie has plenty more going for it as well. Like Wyrmwood before it, there’s a whole lot of gore! All with humour heavily involved but that doesn’t stop it being any more awesome or any more graphic. Blood and green ghost goo (I’m not sure what else to call it) get sprayed everywhere! Guns are used, energy blasters are used through mind and weapons and one particularly great scene has a female character on a killing spree while Andy Williams sings along to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’. If that doesn’t sound great to you, then you probably wont enjoy this film (and what is wrong with you?!). But that humour had me giggling throughout.

Somehow, director Roache-Turner also manages to give Nekrotronic an epic superhero movie-like feel to proceedings. There’s real moments of despair and truimph that rival Marvel’s best efforts (and this is coming from a big Marvel movie fan). This might, in no small part, be because lead actor Ben O’Toole definitely looks a bit like Tony Stark when he knows he has certain powers. And then when he gets in a very superhero looking suit and starts using those powers, he starts looking even more Iron Man-like. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a copy cat character – the humour is very different but it gives Nekrotronic another cool edge. O’Toole is perfect in the role. At first, absolutely believable as a normal guy but by the end, evolving into this awesome and powerful character.

I also have to give a quick mention to Epine Bob Savea who plays his kind of side-kick, Rangi. An character who is all about the comedy. Recent Shudder hit Deadtectives had a similar character to one here which bought a similar side story and there’s so many great and quotable one-liners. Comic timing from all the main cast is spot-on and they show great chemistry.

Roache-Turner seems to be able to write really cool and kick-ass female characters that don’t come across as cheesy – a trait that I hate in some movies. The actors obviously take some credit here to – both Caroline Ford and Tess Haubrich are fantastic and more importantly, believable in the roles. Monica Bellucci looks to be having a lot of fun in her role too.

Nekrotronic is another inventive take on an old horror genre and it’s a wildly entertaining one. Full of action, cool-looking effects and plenty of laughs, I have no doubt this will go down very well with genre fans.

**** 4/5

Nekrotronic is released in select theaters, VOD and digital HD across the US from today, August 9th. The films gets its UK debut at Arrow Video Frightfest on Sunday August 25th 2019.

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