Upgrade is the sophomoric solo-feature from horror veteran, Leigh Whannell (known for writing entries in the “Saw” and “Insidious” franchises) and came out of nowhere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. This was one of the more pleasant surprises of the festival, even earning the Audience Award in the Midnight Movie Section.
The film, (set in the near-future with technology dominating most of society), stars Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) as Grey, a technophobe who is implanted with an experimental computer chip called “Stem”. From there on, Grey sets out for revenge. This Black Mirror-inspired premise hearkens back to 80s Sci-Fi-Thrillers in the best possible way.
At a brisk 95-minutes, the film manages to be consistently thrilling, and often hilarious as we watch Grey swiftly take-out various criminals in comedically-violent and clever ways. There’s enough story to hold one’s interest, and the production design is surprisingly great for a film so low-budget, but Whannell doesn’t waste any time. He knows why we’re there, and he delivers the goods.
Blumhouse will be releasing “Upgrade” on June 1st. Click below to watch the NSFW Red-Band trailer, although proceed with caution as it spoils some of the film’s best moments.