Cinematic Releases: Atomica (2017) - Reviewed

Don't be fooled. Atomica may be getting some cinematic love, but it's still a SyFy movie. 

When a futuristic power station loses communication with the outside world, a female technician is sent to investigate the problem. What could have been a powerful thriller quickly devolves into rudimentary post civilization theatrics best left for the shredder. 

Syfy presents their newest low budget genre entry, Atomica. Starring Sarah Habel, Dominic Monaghan, and a listless Tom Sizemore, this is a claustrophobic drama that doesn't stray too far from the existing SyFy catalog of meager televised movies. With limited funds, the graphics look great and the sets serve the purpose of creating an unnerving, cold mechanical feel. And the filming style and coloring look awfully similar to their best creation ever, Battlestar Galactica. In all honesty, this is probably the biggest compliment I can pay to this feature. Atomica plays it too close to the chest and never expands beyond its influences. Like most of their other releases, the constraints of SyFy's production department hold too much back, not allowing an extra penny to be spent on believable looking costumes or props. While the CGI looks great, many other elements falter. Unfortunately, the tone of Atomica rides that fine line between caustic psycho horror and a-typical sci fi genre tropes. 

We put our entire budget into creating
 this cool looking screen. 

Wearing nothing but a motorcycle suit and helmet sadly disguised as some form of protection from the exterior elements of a barren irradiated earth, Habel enters a cavernous energy center only to find an abandoned facility. That's when things begin to get ugly. What she finds is a mystery that becomes a nightmare situation amplified by Monaghan's current string of emotionally devious creepers. What feels eerily similar to dozens of other science fiction thrillers that take place in a barely lit technological center is at least set apart by the talents of Dominic Monaghan and lead player Sarah Habel. Sizemore and his wooden post drug haze acting does nothing to move the story along as he's only in the last third of this wasted effort. 

Falling into the same pitfalls as the majority of their other digital offerings, Atomica isn't totally unwatchable. But, it's not going to pique the interest of die hard science fiction fans. Most will be turned off by its simplistic plot set up, unbelievably bad twists and turns, and SyFy's incessant need to keep churning out mediocre product. With some more attention paid to the scripting, pacing, and evolution of story, this could have been much better. Sadly, it's just bare bones fiction that won't even satisfy a large portion of the crowd that gets into these cheaply made cable movies....that just so happen to get a limited theater run. 

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