Hollywood hack and slash maestro Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious) crafts something different with Upgrade, a sharp and fast-paced sci-fi horror thriller that really plays around with the genres its invested in and which will completely take you by surprise.
Ever since I first heard about Upgrade I was intrigued and after viewing it’s first trailer I was hooked. This was one film I just had to see up close….and damn if Whannell doesn’t deliver something clever here. While the film’s plot and twists depend on my silence I will say that as soon as you think Upgrade is going in a solid direction Whannell flips the script and you get a curve ball speeding towards you. This is sharp, quick and furious filmmaking at its best and Upgrade really takes you for a ride.
Part of the fun of the film is how many genres that Whannell has laced together to build this piece of cinema. We’ve got everything from crime to sci-fi, horror to thriller and hell even a well deserved dash of comedy and black humour is thrown in for good measure. The point here is that Upgrade completely captures you off guard and it really takes you for a ride. There were multiple moments where I was gasping in shock at what I was watching and I definitely jumped more than once. I have no doubt that Whannell had a lot of fun making this film, and all that passion and enthusiasm really shines through.
Praise also needs to be heaped upon Logan Marshell-Green as main protagonist Grey Trace and the actor does a terrific job. I’ve been a long time fan of Marshell-Green and when you watch him perform you really feel his passion for his craft and the work that he wants to get out on screen. He injects the character of Grey with a lot of humanity and one of the coolest paradoxes is that he is an out and out technophobe who ends up with a AI inside of him! From there things just get weirder and Marshell-Green really embraces it. He also puts himself through the ringer thanks to the film’s crazy stunts and and it’s carnage at every turn. I truly don’t think this film could have worked without Logan Marshall-Green and the film’s success is a testament to his skill as a performer.
And I can’t talk about Upgrade without mentioning the pure grindhouse gore factor that runs through this film. Let’s just say that things get gnarly! Whannell is no stranger to gore with works like Saw and Death Sentance on his resume and here he really steps things up with some insane combat scenes.
Upgrade is a completely fresh and original piece of filmmaking and it’s great to see a film that really strives to take risks and throw things around in the name of entertainment. It’s definitely earnt a place on my list of the year’s best and I encourage you to get along to it ASAP.
Image: Madman Films