A sci-fi/thriller story centered on a special-ops team that is dispatched to fight supernatural beings.
Director: Nic Mathieu
Cast: James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood, Max Martini, Cory Hardrict, Clayne Crawford, Gonzalo Menendex, Ursula Parker, Aaron Serban, Stephen Root
Netflix is now in the original movie business. Like the film ARQ that I reviewed recently, Spectral is another entry in their burgeoning pantheon.
The production values are pretty high, and while the military action is rather predictable in its construction and dialogue, the premise is not too bad, actually. The introduction of the “ghosts” is very cool, and in keeping with the local legends about the after-effects of war.
Also, while feeling a bit like one of the multitudinous combat-based video games out today, Spectral doesn’t really unspool like a video game, except for the inclusion of a couple of scenes where they use some sort of hybrid first-person shooter POV. These scenes don’t really fit very well with the rest of the movie, and probably should have been left out.
The biggest problem I have with Spectral is not the idea of a DARPA scientist being dispatched to the field to evaluate some experimental tech, not the “ghosts,” not the building of grenades out of glass containers that can still be fired from launchers…
No, my biggest problem is that the DARPA scientist is able, with a civilian bunker full of old, broken equipment, and a handful of small arms and equipment salvaged by the retreating US forces, to construct a platoon’s worth of high-energy, plasma-discharging weapons to battle the ghosts, once he figures out what they really are.
But, other than that, it’s not a bad way to burn 90 minutes.
I’ll give Spectral 3/5, mostly because Max Martini completely kicks ass whenever he plays a soldier, but also because, sometimes, you just need to take a movie for what it is.