Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Movie review - Await Further Instructions

There's nothing quite like a good concept that gets buried under heavy-handedness and poor writing. Await Further Instructions is one of those movies. There are some deep, scary truths at the end, but you have to slog through the rest of the movie to get there.

From the very start, the characters are narrow beyond belief. Not just tropes or caricatures, but tiny, one-dimensional, single traits being portrayed by actors. The actors do the best they can, but they're not very good, and their performances barely rate straight-to-DVD status. The director might have coaxed some better acting out of them, but their script was clunky and obvious.

The family's initial clash is all about racism, because one of the boys has a Pakistani girlfriend, but it's the really bad type of incident that seems to only happen in movies/tv to make it seem like this sort of thing always happens, that no one has any form of social filter.

When the inciting event finally happens, the reactions are just as preposterous as the behaviors at dinner. Tropes and archtypes are one thing; these are just fragments of archtypes, and it begins to grate. The tv has emergency instructions on them, and the family blindly does whatever they're told.

The family quickly falls apart, and the situation goes from bad to worse, and the viewer FINALLY gets to see the real point. The very last twenty minutes aren't terrible, though the acting and the script never truly improve. Things come together, and you can finally understand what the writer was trying to say with his slivers of character types, and what their reactions were supposed to represent, and what the overall message was supposed to be.

It's that buried nugget of truth, of a great concept, that is good and almost makes it worth enduring the rest of the movie. A mirror is held up to our world, and it's not a pretty thing. I really would have enjoyed it more if that aspect were more thoroughly explored, or if this were just a short piece as part of a horror compilation.

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