Dir. Paul Hyett
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Paul Hyett's latest venture in horror takes a bite at technology and leaves a rather satisfying taste. The director of THE SEASONING HOUSE, HOWL and HERETIK who has also worked on British classics, THE DESCENT, TOWER BLOCK and THE MACHINE, pits the conundrum of nostalgia with the evils of modern technology and at what cost does one give for popularity.
After the release of her debut novel, Bobbi (Hannah Arterton) is pressured to release a follow up that can live up to the legacy of her first. A book that was written from her identity and caused millions of followers to fight the system in riots across the country. When her publisher persuades her to take on a new piece of technology to accelerate and ease her writing process, it unleashes an evil that will send Bobbi to the depths of insanity.
Arterton is fantastic in the lead in a science fiction political thriller that plays like MISERY meets BLACK MIRROR. Here lies a message of the cost that people are willing to sell themselves for in the desperation to be not necessarily famous but more importantly, relevant. As Bobbi feels she loses the writing process, more technology is introduced and before she knows it, the system has taken over.
Behind Hyett's direction, PERIPHERAL is a mind bending thriller that keeps you guessing and holds out until the very end before relishing in its message. At times, this is full on terrifying and homages to THE EVIL DEAD and ROSEMARY'S BABY take on a more digital revolution in a neat motion of events.
Dan Schafer who wrote the screenplay, may not be a household name but has an important voice that is showcased in this piece. Where the science fiction genre is slowly falling into repetitive AI takeover storytelling, here lies something truly original and more grounded in reality while still cruising on the boundaries of fiction. Bobbi's desperation and reach for self control is engrossing to watch while her support network of friends, colleagues and icons turn out to be her saviours and her curse.