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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Review: Assimilate

Director: John Murlowski
Guion: John Murlowski y Steven Palmer Peterson
Año: 2019

Synopsis: Three friends decide to do a web series about the things that go around in their town. Soon they discover that their neighbors are being murdered and replaced by creatures that take others identity.

Cinema classics are usually sources of inspiration for decades for people that, just like us, have enjoyed them as viewers but now they are involved in the filmmaking world. In some cases the admiration for a movie can be detrimental, as in looking to honor them, a new creation can lose its identity and look like a copy, usually of lower quality, from the original.

Making the most out of this wordplay of originals and copies, I want to bring into memory “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, which plot is based in this precisely. This movie is a horror movie classic that since it was released in 1978 has inspired many other movies. The most recent in joining the homages of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is “Assimilate”. Before entering fully into discussing “Assimilate”, I want to expose the curious fact that this is the third horror movie released this year that uses the topic of identity theft, where the first two are “The Hole in the Ground” and “Us”.

In “Assimilate” we follow Zach, Rany, and Kayla, interpreted by Joel Courtney (“Super 8”), Calum Worthy (“The Blackburn Asylum”), and Andi Matichak (“Halloween”), respectively, while the two boys start to document the occurrences of their town with the intention of creating a web series. In this process, they start to see that after being bitten by some small creatures, people start to behave in a weird way, until they discover they are being substituted. If this plot seems familiar it’s because it is way too similar to that of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

While “Assimilate” starts playing with the idea of it being presented in a found footage style and it does use some aspects of this filming style, it is decided to present it in a more traditional way. I think this was a good decision, as it allows to use the most useful style to present each take and this is one of its strongest weapons to work the atmosphere, the jump scares, and how the creatures are presented.

For a movie that was made with a tight budget, the quality of the final product has to be highlighted. The practical effects are very good, as well as the digital ones, but these are much more limited precisely because of the budget. The cinematography work is excellent, mixing different filming styles in a coherent way that help enhance the story. The acting is also good with credible interpretations inside the context that is being presented.

“Assimilate” falls far from the level of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, but it’s a good movie. The technical work is excellent and maybe its biggest problem is using a story we have already seen in a superior movie. Even so, it has is good moments and is an entertaining horror movie.


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