This 2018 film caught some recent traction after it was added to Netflix in August, trending in recent weeks. The film itself is a genre blending a mix of sci-fi, horror and thriller which gives viewers a surreal insight into artificial intelligence (AI) in a futuristic society.
The film is dramatic, lively and spine-tingling at times, with the fairly unknown cast contributing well to a very original idea.
Director, Leigh Whannell, is known for his ability to create high intensity, thrilling films on low budgets such as ‘Saw’ and ‘Insidious’, which he wrote and co-directed with James Wan.
Films such as these have become staple household thrillers, becoming benchmarks in their field and Upgrade, which follows some of the same patterns, is no exception as it possesses the gore and carnage he is known for, putting the film firmly within its 15 certificate rating.
Like all good movies, Upgrade offers the viewer the opportunity to question how they would react if they were placed in a similar situation to the characters.
After protagonist Grey, acted by Logan Marshall-Green, is crippled in an accident he is given the opportunity to have an AI chip inserted into his body that will give him full mobility again.
After some thought and soul-searching, he takes up the opportunity and in doing so the principle revenge premise of the movie begins as Grey sets out to punish those responsible for his predicament.
The ensuing journey takes the viewer on a roller-coasting saga of twists and turns before finally reaching the final destination which is both surprising and thought provoking.
The concept of revenge is an oft-visited theme but the gritty, grimy and harsh futuristic setting helps the film escape its common plot and pushes it into its own unique category.
Whilst the storyline is easy enough to follow, at times it’s unpredictable which adds an edgy originality that occasionally left this reviewer breathless.
The unexpected negative bumps and the quintessentially wicked villain Fisk, acted superbly by Benedict Hardie, who uses his minimal screen time extremely effectively, along with some brilliant camera angles and special effects throughout the film, (especially in the fight scenes) create the tension and thrills you would expect from this director, bringing the film to life and firmly fixing the audience to the edges of their seats.
The 4 out of 5 starred Netflix review is, in my opinion, justified, and the highly-original ending creates endless opportunities for a sequel.
Upgrade is a lively, thrilling and entertaining movie that leaves audiences imagining just how far away we are from AI featuring so prominently and, perhaps ominously, in our lives.