Uncanny (2015)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Uncanny</strong> (2015)

(On Cable TV, January 2015) The 2010s have been a good decade for low-budget, genre-aware science fiction movies. (Well, Syfy aside.) If the quality has been hit-and-miss, at least there’s been a lot of them to choose from, and even the not-so-good ones can have something to offer. Uncanny is ultimately not that good of a movie, but it’s intriguing for about thirty minutes, which is fifteen more than many other SF movies. There’s an admirable simplicity to its setup, as only one loft set and four characters are involved (a journalist, a tech genius, an android and a billionaire played by special guest star Rainn Wilson). The journalist is there to interview the genius and his android, but not all is as it seems in a “twist” that can be seen long before it happens. There is also a baffling mid-credit “counter-twist” that makes the entire plot disintegrate in self-contradictions, but don’t worry—you’ll make up your mind about Uncanny well before that happens. As a late entry in the 2013–2014 mini-wave of movies about artificial intelligence, slow-paced thought-piece Uncanny attempts to remain grounded in tech-industry jargon, but doesn’t have much to contribute—this really isn’t anywhere close to Ex Machina. It’s not exactly an easy movie to like: Due to the lack of emotional affect by two of the three lead characters, it feels cold and stunted—and that’s without me going into an extended rant about the film’s dumb equation between lack of emotions as an intellectual marker. Still, especially at first, Director Matthew Leutwyler attempt to deliver in Uncanny something more mature than most other low-budget SF movies. The results aren’t particularly successful, but the ambition has to be respected. Still, there are better picks out there.

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