Been a while since I’ve watched a sci-fi movie that doesn’t involve a monster of some sort. Instead we have here an entry into the virtual reality game gone wrong genre. I don’t know if that’s a whole genre, but I’ve seen enough of them. While this bleeds more into actual reality, it’s still close enough.
It starts with some backstory about the Orphans of the Revolution, which was started by some stadium serial killer. After they use this point to introduce the two main characters, we don’t much care about this subplot. So on to the games. Subterano is a hit virtual reality game that’s sweeping the nation. The game president’s son has just completed the next version, but his father has no time to see it. So the next best thing it to beta test it on his friends. Of course the new version makes the game real and uses a car park as the main level structure.
A mix of various people get trapped inside including the two rebels, the teens, a recently fired employee, and a security guard. The rules for the real life sim are the same as the game. You can only go down levels until you fight the boss, and if you turn back the game will finish you off quickly. The game also decides to kill people at random just for fun. Then throw in some various enemies and you have a deadly experience.
The effects are good, and the CGI works in a way that at least syncs up to the background and isn’t trying to be anything other than shiney spheres or robots. The futuristic aspects are only played up in certain aspects. Youth clothing is nothing short of bizzare with bright colors, weird makeup, and plastic bags for dresses. Aside from fully VR games and lazer guns, most everything is the same. The main scene with a car is taken from the game company owner’s private collection, so they are all vintage. Not much else is outside modern technology. Except for voice phones anyway.
It flows fairly well and ducks the smaller budget by reusing the same car park level for each scene much like Cube reused the same box (note to self, stop comparing every Sci-fi movie to Cube). Deaths range a bit from dismemberment at the ankles to simply melting from the inside after an abdomen laser blast.
Characters are largely annoying save for the two leads. The security women is abrasive and illogical, and the teens I think I hate simply due to their attire. Being trendy is annoying, but being anti-trendy just seems to much worse. And as much as I like neon, it doesn’t work in this case. You almost root for them to die so you can be spared your eyesight.
The endgame is to escape the car park, beat the bad guys, and then get to the mountains. The mountains are mythical at this point in history, and I have no idea why. I imagine even in the worst dystopian environment, at least mountains would still exist. Otherwise you’d be in a world of trouble. But best not to think about it too much. It’s a fun film.