New Horror Releases: Sequence Break (2018) - Reviewed

In my opinion, Sequence Break is not a horror film – per se. But then again, horror is mostly subjective, depending on the breed of voyeur beholding the nightmare. I would like to coin some phrases, especially for this film and not many others.

Techno-Lovecraftian. Perhaps Carpenter’esque. Whichever you choose, it is unmistakably bizarre and engaging from the get-go that feels like an extended episode of ‘Outer Limits’. How so, you ask?

This film is unique, always a good thing in today’s orgy of formula-written, desperate-for-attention fodder that is so predictable that it sends you right back to the thrall of social media on your phone while you wait for the end credits. Coincidently,  Sequence Break ’s main message of looking beyond the screen, the binary code and the programming hits home with its constant reminder of how society had become alienated from basic face-to-face communication.

Chase Williamson (The Guest) stars as Oz, a reclusive video arcade technician whose reluctance toward modern technology almost prevents him from meeting a comely fellow nerd, Tess, played by Fabianne Therese (Southbound). As the two video arcade gamers fall in love, their world is invaded by the introduction of a mysterious arcade machine that Oz repairs – to his detriment. Upon playing the irresistible game, Oz soon realizes that it has the power to influence his thought patterns and rips up his perception with ominous hallucinations and physical illness.

 Sequence Break  is written and directed by Graham Skipper, known for his acting work in The Mind's Eye, Almost Human, and Beyond the Gates. It is clear that Mr Skipper took great inspiration from Cronenberg for his disturbing imagery and successfully relayed the John Carpenter vibe with authentic Eighties score. As another review stated, the effects cross into ‘Tron’ territory, which personally, was a treat for me to watch.

Although the film is more of a Science Fiction/ Romance than a Horror, it does hold a very dark feel in the vein of films like Eraserhead, stepping even into the realms of JG Ballard and HP Lovecraft.  Sequence Break's erotic undertones and moody lighting gives the story an ominous feel, but regrettably there is not much of a story.

The film paces well during the first part, but only the constant appearance of a stranger that plays harbinger to the unsuspecting Oz maintains the mystery while the romance unfolds. Although the machine’s metamorphoses and the inter-dimensional threat thereof leads to a climax, the film crawls along at a snail’s pace in the last half.

Basically, the message is prominent, the effects are amazing and the mood of the film is dead on. The 80’s feel and the constant looming mystery as to the origin and endgame (pun intended) of the machine makes it an interesting and potent watch for anyone who enjoys low-budget Sci-Fi that relies more on depth and atmosphere than spectacular laser fights. 

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-Tasha Danzig