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(Review originally written at 24 January 2011)

This movie is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand its a quite maintaining and also original movie within its genre but on the other its also a quite messy one, that screams wasted potential.

Seriously, in the hands of a more capable director and with some more money behind it, this movie could had been such a fascinating and classic one within its genre. Lots of the right ingredients are there but they are however often wasted by its messy way of storytelling.

This really is the biggest problem of the movie. For about 80% of its running time, I had absolutely no idea what was happening. It's because the 'mystery' of the movie gets revealed and explained really late on into the movie and before that, the movie is filled with lots of moments that in the long run have absolutely nothing to do with the story at all. Same goes for some of the character really. It makes the movie at times really messy and unnecessarily confusing to watch. It takes away lots of the pleasure from watching this movie but even worse is that it kills off lots of the potential that this movie showed with its concept.

The movie is being the type of science-fiction thriller that became mostly popular later in the '70's. It's a story that tries to pick a more realistic approach to things, as if in nothing that gets featured in this movie couldn't potentially happen in real life as well. I honestly like these sort of movies but this movie just really isn't the best example of the genre its possibilities and its great and most fascinating aspects.

It could had all worked out much better within this movie if it had only been more tense and mysterious. The movie now is only mysterious in the sense of not ever really explaining anything, until the end. But this just doesn't really work out well for the movie. The tension and mystery of the movie just often falls flat, which perhaps is also being somewhat due to the fact that the movie doesn't really have strong or likable characters in it. The only really good character in this movie is played by Oliver Reed but he's being somewhat of a villain, so not one of the main 'heroes' or leading characters.

But still, the movie remains a mostly good watch. This is mostly due to its concept, that is being still original, despite the fact that it doesn't get exploited and used to its full potential. Nevertheless, the movie remains a good 'different' watch and I think that the lovers of science-fiction thrillers shall still most likely enjoy this movie, just like I, despite everything, still did.

Just don't expect, just because the Hammer studios name is attached to this, that this movie is going to be a tense, atmospheric one. The atmosphere and setting have basically nothing in common with the typical and distinctive Hammer studios atmosphere or style of film-making. In a way this movie is being much more like Hammer's earlier production, such as all of the 'Quatermass' movies.

Just give it a shot. Chances are you might end up liking it, despite all of its flaws and all of its obvious wasted potential. It's still an interesting and honestly also, good watch.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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