Roger and I have both grown very fond of the independent films put out by XLrator Media, under their horror label, XLrator Macabre. Until recently, I had no idea that they also have another label entitled XLrator Turbo. While Caradog W. James’ The Machine does contain the action promised by XLrator Turbo, it also has plenty of sci-fi nerdiness and bloody maiming to please most of you horror fans out there.
In a futuristic world, Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens) is a scientist working with artificial intelligence to help wounded soldiers recover from traumatic and fatal injuries. The company Vincent works for wants to make machines that can serve as super soldiers, but Vincent has secret plans to discover a way to cure his daughter who suffers from a debilitating disease. After his new ‘partner,’ Ava (Caity Lotz) is killed, Vincent makes a new machine with Ava’s likeness, which begins exhibiting emotions and thoughts of a live consciousness, as opposed to just a machine. Now, Vincent and the military running his operation must battle over the correct way to utilize the technology that Vincent has created.
I remember hearing about The Machine months ago and realizing it was a must-see, as soon as I knew XLrator was putting it out. I have yet to be disappointed by these guys, so I knew I was going to be in for another treat. I finally got my hands on a copy of the film recently and after watching the first 20 minutes or so, my excitement began to dwindle. There were some great scenes of promise with blood and gore — more than I expected from the Turbo outlet actually — but the story seemed to be moving along very slowly.
I decided to take a break from the film and turned it on the next day to try to sit through the rest. I am glad I came back for a second round because as the film progresses, so does the entertainment.
For a film with such ambition, The Machine was made with a rather small amount of money. That didn’t stop the director and his team from making an amazing looking movie, however. Being a science fiction film about robots and machines, there is a ton of special effects and CGI work that had to be done and I am happy to say that they pulled it off perfectly. It is easy to tell that it is a lower budget film, but that still doesn’t take away from how great everything looks.
The acting in this movie was also great with Caity Lotz stealing the show. She does a great job of playing the sweet and innocent scientist Ava, but I was way more impressed with her physicality and intensity as ‘the machine.’ Lotz performed her own choreography and fight scenes, proving that she is way more than just another indie movie actress.
If you are into sci-fi films with a touch of bloody action, you definitely need to watch The Machine. Be sure to pick up a copy on DVD or Blu-ray, when it officially releases this Tuesday, June 17.
I give this film 3.5 implants out of 5.