(Germany/Austria - 2016)
WAR ON EVERYONE
(UK/UAE - 2016; 2017 US release)
(UK - 2016)
HIGH-RISE, the upcoming FREE FIRE), and it's the feature writing/directing debut of protege Nick Gillespie, who's served as a camera operator on all of Wheatley's films. The plot begins with faint echoes of Neal Marshall's DOG SOLDIERS before becoming something more surreal and psychological and by the end, it feels like a longer-than-usual episode of BLACK MIRROR, something that's probably inevitable in UK genre fare given the show's popularity and fervent following. An enemy is closing in on a team of mercenaries led by blustery, barking Smith (Gordon Kennedy), who orders everyone to retreat and leave injured Capper (Wheatley semi-regular Michael Smiley) behind with a bone jutting out of his leg. Smith has two hooded prisoners in orange jumpsuits and they pick up another tag-along in an unnamed woman (Alex March), who they find in utter hysterics until she's sedated by medic Karlsson (Deirdre Mullins). The squad is rounded out by unstable Gantz (Steve Garry), who's already seeing flashing visions of a barely-discernible creature following them, and requisite voice-of-reason Reeves (Rupert Evans, of Amazon's THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE), who's struggling to hold it together. After finding several headless bodies of decapitated mercenaries in a barn, Smith leads everyone--minus one of the two prisoners who's killed a scuffle, leaving only Annabella (April Pearson) as the recovered quarry in their unspecified assignment--to an abandoned tank in the middle of an empty field. Deciding it's the safest place to take refuge from whatever is pursuing them, they all pile into its cramped, claustrophobic confines.