02nd Jul2020

‘Lab Rat’ Short Film Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Matt Harris, Sian Hill, Kirsty Sturgess, Max Williams, Abeo Jackson | Written by Matt Brothers, Nour Wazzi | Directed by Nour Wazzi

After recently watching and enjoy the short Baby Mine, I couldn’t wait to check out director Nour Wazzi’s other work, which lead me to this all new sci-fi short Lab Rat.

In it we see a group of scientists trapped in a lab and told that one of them is an A.I. – a humanoid robot of sorts. The whole thing is orchestrated by an unhinged mother whose daughter now worries her lover might be the A.I.and looks to save him from the other scientists.

It’s a cool concept to work with and my mind immediately went to The Thing. And while it wouldn’t have been a bad thing to go done that route of finding out who was the ‘odd one out’, I’m glad the filmmakers didn’t just go and copy that classic. Instead, any conflict between the scientists happens quite fast and we soon see that this wont be the key part of the story. The big reveal isn’t exactly a huge twist but that’s not really a problem, the movie doesn’t hinge on whether it is good or not on that moment. It’s more about the love story and how it holds up in those difficult situations.

One of my first thoughts on seeing the cast on screen, and maybe this is because of current events in the world, was that it was refreshing not to see an all-white cast.

Considering the relative inexperience of the cast, the performances are all very good. There’s perhaps not enough time to build up any chemistry, except for maybe the two lovers, but the conflict and the emotion was all performed confidently and believably enough. With the stand-out coming from Kirsty Sturgess as Alika, showing why she was chosen as the lead.

Like Baby Mine before it, and with Lab Rat even more so, for a low budget short movie it looks fantastic. They’ve have nailed the aesthetic of sci-fi almost solely with the tone. The final few minutes bring a great rotating camera shot and musical cue (along with a short moment of great score) that sums up the feel and quality of Lab Rat.

Bringing something fresh to the sci-fi genre isn’t easy and while there’s familiar ideas here, in its short run time of less than fifteen minutes Lab Rat creates a world that I would love to see much more of. It seems like the perfect start to a an idea that could be expanded on for a full feature length film. Director Nour Wazzi is making some really impressive short films and I look forward to see whatever she plans next.

**** 4/5

Lab Rat is due for release on July 9th on Dust.

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