Greetings from the Ether,
The last installment of our review series on director Neill Blomkamp’s OATS Studios short films–at least until a new short releases–will revolve around “Zygote.” An abomination of John Carpenter’s The Thing and the video game franchise Dead Space, with a dabble of Event Horizon, “Zygote” is horrifying and grotesque in the most perfect of ways. Blomkamp yet again secures and executes an interesting idea and in doing so, maintains a consistent level of quality to be expected from his passion project.
“Zygote” follows two humans on a terraforming station who are trying to survive from the pursuit of an otherworldy creature that not only absorbs all knowledge from each person it encounters, but it also literally absorbs and combines every human it kills, making its physical appearance disturbing and visceral. Audiences are kind of thrown into the mix, initially unaware, and we have to listen to everything the two characters say in order to grasp a better understanding of the universe and environment. Blomkamp has stated that this storyline was originally thought up to be a full length film, which makes sense if you consider how deep this storyline actually runs.
Where the film could drastically fail, considering its lack of setup, Blomkamp masterfully keeps the audience engaged with exposition scenes that cohesively fill the absences in narrative. Once the short picks up, and once we see the Zygote (and hear it) for the first time, the film is nonstop terror from then on. The creature is frightening and jarring in its unnatural resemblance to humans alone. The CGI could have gone terribly wrong with this concept, but surprisingly, the Zygote looks better in this level of quality CGI than it would have in practical effects, which is an enormous compliment to the crew who worked on this film.
The Carpenter and Cronenberg themes culminate into a tense and horrific ending that does not disappoint, even with our clamoring to see a prelude to these events. This was a very interesting theme and concept to see Blomkamp tackle, as his work has primarily been in the realms of hard science fiction. Seeing him so flawlessly execute a sci-fi/horror like “Zygote” is impressive in its determinations of his skill alone. Not only does Blomkamp deliver with a gripping short, but he also crafts what is the best short film in OATS Studios Volume 1 thus far. “Zygote” is exactly what it needs to be, never failing to remember its purpose or design.
OUR RATING: 5/5
Watch the full short film here: