2018 | Horror | starring Neerja Naik, David Bradley | directed by Johnny Kevorkian | 1:31 mins |
Despite countless real world examples of human kindness shown in the face of both human and natural disasters, a favorite pop culture trope – and the source of some great works – is the Lord of the Flies trope. The cynic’s view of mankind that when you shut off the lights and leave man to their own devices we all devolve into violent, selfish, panicking savages and turn on each other. Await Further Instructions is a film school, base level, satire 101 take on this story rising to consciousness on post-Brexit English condescension. The TV is literally telling people what to do, you see, and 30 years after Videodrome covered this ground so thoroughly and a decade after The Signal asked if we had the crazy, director Johnny Kevorkian sketches it out with crayons. He puts a family in a house on Christmas, isolates them with a mysterious metal dome and has them go insane at the drop of a hat because the TV said so.
The film rings false because of Kevorkian’s lack of curiosity for why people do what they do, why Britain voted for Brexit for example. In this movie people are dumb drones who do what the TV said to. There is no room for nuance or complexity. The sheer nastiness and immediacy that everyone turns on each other is a baffling, unnatural and would suggest simmering family drama before this whole supernatural event started that the film never explores. Instead it’s an aggressively annoying, black and white, hiss-the-villains mess of broadly drawn characters with degrees of intelligence spread out in predictable politically correct lines. Kevorkian really thinks he’s fooled us with Neerja Naik as the Muslim girlfriend coming into the family’s world for the first time and – twist – she’s the smartest, most sensible one in the house. Naik says something logical, everyone ignores it and the movie stays on this hamster wheel for most of it’s running time, until finally settling on the least interesting ending. Who is behind the mysterious signal? The government, terrorists or aliens? Kevorkian would probably say it doesn’t matter, and it wouldn’t if he had something to say with these characters.
Alternate Viewing: If you’re up for a movie about a man who brings his girlfriend home to meet the family and ends up in the middle of a horror film skip this crap and go for Adam Wingard’s You’re Next.