Kye Cortland (Dan Mohr) is a prisoner of war who after briefly escaping is enlisted in retrieving encrypted data aboard the ship known as Arrowhead. However, the ship crash-lands on a moon and Kye slowly learns this planet isn’t all that it seems.
Winner of the 2015 Sci-Fi Film Festival, Arrowhead tells a futuristic Jekyll and Hyde tale of loneliness and survival. While watching the film I couldn’t help but pick out how many movies, classic movies this film has picked from. Not to say that’s a bad thing, Tarantino has made a career out of picking the best bits from his favourite movies, even directly referencing them. If done well though it really doesn’t matter. So how does Arrowhead fair up, pretty good actually.
Expanding from his 10 minute short, Arrowhead: Signal, director Jesse O’ Brien is well aware of this potential franchise starter. Like Pitch Black, the actual movie itself is rather small and tame compared to the larger mythology the opening credits give us. There are two rival war factions, one of them is winning and executes enemy prisoners every year as a celebration, one of these prisoners is Kye. After breaking out of prison he’s taken in by Hatch (Mark Redpath) who orders him to board The Arrowhead and he’ll save his father who is in queue to be executed. Then through mysterious means he has crash landed on some rocky planet and there’s some hidden monster lurking about. As I said, you probably have seen it all before but when it’s done right, it matters not.
For the movie’s second act, Mor is put into Castaway or The Martian mode as he must deal with being on this planet alone while confronting whatever the hell it is that’s lurking in the shadows. Luckily Mor is charismatic enough for us not to lose interest as we’re going through similar motions as Kye is coming to grips with this new planet. For the most part his only companion is Reef, a red eye A.I that throws in some plot points here and there before telling us, I mean Kye, that the information is classified. Also there is Aliesha Rose as Tarren, the moral centre of the story as she tries to bring the humanity back into Kye.
With such a low budget and a script that needs to explain so much, the cast and crew do an exceptional job when it comes down to it. The planet itself is earth-like except for its toxic atmosphere but what really sets it apart are the backgrounds. Wide angle shots present the unnamed planet in the background along with a few other moons. I could easily see that as a screensaver on my laptop. Put on top of that a compelling script that keeps you there till the very last frame and you know that O’ Brien and co have something.
Definitely the start of something, whether it be a franchise or the careers of its cast and crew, Arrowhead is a gem for all sci-fi and drama enthusiasts.
Release Date: 22nd February
Running Time: 80 minutes