Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Now on Netflix: Spectral (2016)

Spectral (2016) - Directed by Nic Mathieu; Written by George Nolfi; Starring Clayne Crawford, Emily Mortimer, James Badge Dale, Bruce Greenwood.

By Kenny Howell

Spectral is a few things, but not quite a lot of things.

The Netflix original film is sort of a sci-fi, sort of a horror film, sort of a war film, but doesn't do any of them exceptionally well. I think it does them well enough, but nothing to separate it from anything else that is out there.

It is the story of a special-ops group in a war torn region that have to fight a new enemy, one that appears to be supernatural. There is seemingly no way to stop these ghost like creatures which can kill a man just by touch and can't be seen by the naked eye. But a scientist named Clyne (James Badge Dale) has created a new night vision goggles that inadvertently can pick up the ghosts, and the special-ops team are going to go back in and figure out how to stop them.

There are science-fiction elements to this, obviously, but they push the boundaries quite a bit on the science side. Things are achieved at quite an amazing pace, new technology built overnight that advances the field years in just a few hours. Also, what stops the ghosts is kind of a bit convenient to the story.

There are horror elements to this, because you are obviously dealing with ghost-like creatures, but they aren't exceptionally scary. What they can do is, but they rarely have the impact they should.

There are elements of a war film here, and that may be the strength. For the seemingly low budget, Director Nic Mathieu is able to get realistic uniforms and the actors seem to be as close (or what I think is close) to how a special ops team would operate. The action isn't mind-blowing, but it is competently done and keeps things moving.

Though Spectral can't quite gel all the elements it wants, it isn't all that bad. It is what it is, and could have been much worse. The stronger points keep it together enough to help it pass by easily.

Spectral is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: **

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