Dir. Jesse O'Brien
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
The science fiction genre has seen a revival of late with the likes of INTERSTELLAR and THE MARTIAN. ARROWHEAD pitches itself in the middle of these two as a sci-fi thriller with a lone survivor settling on a distant planet in a battle for survival. This time rather than a member of NASA, the stranded is a prisoner in a dystopian future and his quest is harboured by a search and capture mission set by his captors.
On a fraction of the budget of the Oscar contenders above mentioned, ARROWHEAD is no less of a thrilling ride for it as Kyle (Dan Mor) searches for a way out and with the aid of Tarren (Aleisha Rose) and his robotic aide REEF, fights to the bitter end for survival of not only himself but of the human race as a whole.
What makes this film a little different is its blend of genres. Part survival thriller, part B-Movie monster mash up, it’s as if the director married up THE MARTIAN and PITCH BLACK and came out with ARROWHEAD. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.
While the B-Movie elements work, they feel out of place in comparison to the films grittier political and emotional moments. The chemistry between its two leads is gripping to watch and as the film tries to pull an emotional chord, the vehicle space hops to another planet and struggles to steer back on course.
There are a number of ARROWHEAD’s set pieces that work, but on the whole the film falls short of false storytelling, dragging the audience through one slipstream and veering off course in a twist which was a risk that unfortunately doesn’t work with the films tight budget and limited star quality. Without the monster movie, this could have been a strong character story and it’s understandable why the story should differ from that of the bigger budget rivals with alien technologies but unfortunately it just doesn’t work for me. A real shame as the two central performances show that the issue was not down to the casting.