From Fantasia 2017: “Sequence Break”

SB posterOz is a very skilled electronic technician that works repairing old arcade consoles, and that rather loose himself in the screens and circuitry at the repair shop where he works instead of interacting with other members of the human species. Learning that the shop will be shut down soon due “Times change and nobody wants arcades anymore” Oz decides to have a few drinks at a local bar and is approached by a very attractive girl named Tess that also is a nut for old vintage video games, starting a romantic relationship that not only could cause us a diabetic coma, but also defies the laws of logic and reality, nothing wrong there (I am old and bitter, please bear with me and keep reading).

That same night, Oz finds an old weird motherboard, and pinched by curiosity, decides to install it on a machine that he was repairing. The result is the appearance of a weird hypnotic old-style video game on the screen, that compels Oz to play, and start giving him strange hallucinations that might or might not be predicting his future and doom, while a strange apparently homeless man gets in and out of the shop like if he had the duty to ensure that the entity on the other side of the game’s images can find a way to pay us a visit.

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OK, to tell you the truth, I have mixed feelings about this film, on one side “Sequence Break” is a very bizarre film that could be interpreted as “David Cronenberg’s Videodrome for gamers” minus the guilty fetish speech, and at the same time gives the feeling that the script was based on a very hallucinated dream, that when the writer tried to put it on paper, could not find a way to “ground it” and just said “F-ck It, it will be viral on YouTube anyway”… And it sort of works.

The movie has very good special effects, both practical and computer made, that could fall into the sub-genre of “Body Horror” or more likely Circuit horror (If that word does not exist, I said “Patent Pending” as of right now!) and some jump scares that will make a couple people…well, jump in their seats. We also have a very good soundtrack that creates an effective hallucinated atmosphere that allow us to join Oz in his trances when he apparently looses track of time and reality while playing the mysterious game.

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But the film is not without its flaws (hence, “the mixed feelings” part), there are several scenes with jump scares that lead to nothing, at moments the music’s volume get too loud to the point of stunning (needless in my opinion) and the resolution on the third act is kind of a lackluster. Maybe in paper looked “Outstanding and deliriously epic” but it was kinda predictable, although I will say that it was very interesting how it was presented (for those who already saw the film, I am referring to the “split scene” I won’t say more). At the end you end up with a lot of questions about the entity “on the other side of the screen”, and although I think is good that you have to draw your own conclusions sometimes, here I felt it like the writer did not care to go into details..

I have to mention that the acting overall is very good, BUT, the chemistry between Oz and Tess was SIMPLY ADORABLE, every time you see them flirting on screen you heart gets stolen (Gamer Ladies, please never go away!) thus later on when you see them in danger, you actually fear for their lives (As it should be on this kind of films). It was definitely the right call to cast this two lead actors together, I was so moved by them as I was in the film “Spring” (another movie you must watch)

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The film was written and directed by Graham Skipper (this time as a director, but before we saw him acting in “Almost Human” and the recent “Beyond the gates”), on the cast we have the performances of Chase Williamson (“Beyond the gates”, “John dies at the end”) , Fabienne Therese (“John dies at the end”, “The aggression scale”), Audrey Wasilewski, Lyle Kanouse and John Dinan .

Verdict 4/5

Fantasia Film Festival is on its 21th edition, and has always been know for showing some of the best films in the Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi genres, currently running thru August 2nd. You can visit their official website to see more of the great material they are showing this year, and follow them in social media.

 

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