Children Are the Future

In Assassinaut’s future, the US government fired nukes to wipe out aliens living among the population. That’s an extreme answer to the problem, bringing out alien sympathizers and protesters. The Earth-based situation seems more interesting than the space-bound one of Assassinaut’s.

Kids will save us all, says Assassinaut. It’s in their nature – send them to a presidential space station, using their innocence for a peace-keeping mission. For a bit, Assassinaut uses this to breed a positive idea – this younger generation will step up, be political, and create change.

Then the President is shot. So much for peace.

Assassinaut is the other possibility, where in-fighting dooms all

Beamed to a nearby planet in the chaos, the kids band together to survive. Things move slow. There’s no sense of tension in the pacing. Assassinaut languishes, barely 80-minutes, and feeling twice that. For a desperate situation, survivors of the assassination attempt sit down for lunch and engage in philosophical talk. Then comes the mission – recovering the injured President. That means walking through forests, scrounging for food, and even some playtime. It’s odd.

Budget constraints keep things visually Earth bound. By the final act though, the planet becomes decidedly alien. Lifeforms begin take people over, turning Assassinaut ferociously dark. Who survives is unexpected, even in a genre film, then twisting the last moments to further pile on intensity.

Credit the cast for keeping this together, the kids particularly. Each captures a sharp personality type. Varied in their reasons for joining the mission, getting along becomes the central fight, and in Assassinaut, the cynical side rules. The right future is one where the youngest work together and become a team; that’s what mainstream scripts do. Assassinaut is the other possibility, where in-fighting dooms all. The next generation isn’t any different from those who set nuclear war in motion.

That’s an observant and brutal take, uncomfortable yet harshly honest about people (and their inherent judgmental bias). Assassinaut needed more kick to reach that conclusion though.

Video

The aesthetic of Assassinaut leans pale and flat. No black. Grays take the place of shadows, sucking depth from the imagery. For intent that’s fine, yet without true black, this allows substantial noise and banding into this 1080p presentation. Both problems hamper detail.

Fairly soft, digital work keeps things plain. Forest scenery lacks strength and beauty as a result, likely an attempt to slightly “alienate” the setting. Firm detail is rare, held only when the camera zooms in close.

Like the aggressive grays, color loses saturation and heft. The kids wear different color jumpsuits, with some primary bite lacking despite identifiable red, blue, green, and yellow. Some blood will stick out in spots, making the most of the practically-made gore.

Audio

Sufficient Dolby Digital 5.1 (with an optional 2.0 mix) uses the soundstage sparingly, if smartly. Approaching aliens and other jump scare-like cues strike from one of the rears when warranted. Ambiance will allow various animal calls/chirps to break out from the center.

Light LFE hits when a space station explodes, enough to accentuate the blast, if lean in total power.

Extras

Two commentaries. First is director Drew Bolduc, the second featuring Bolduc and producer Bedhan Ball. Eight deleted scenes run seven minutes, and three interview segments peek behind-the-scenes. A short (really short) film and trailers bring Assassinaut’s Blu-ray to a close.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Assassinaut
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Movie

Massive swings in tone leave Assassinaut on a dour twist ending, and that’s fine if getting to that point wasn’t so laborious.

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