Kill Switch revolves around Will Porter (The Guest’s Dan Stevens) a physicist and former NASA pilot, who is recruited by the company Alterplex to aid their mission to change the world by providing the world with free renewable energy from a source beyond all current renewables. Porter initially declines the offer from the shady company. However, he reluctantly agrees in order to take care of his sister Mia (Charity Wakefiled, Dr. Who) and his special needs nephew, Donny (Kasper van Groesen, The Zigzag Kid). Then, right after the world is liberated from the energy crisis, Porter finds himself in chaos of his own in a mirrored world that is facing the apocalypse.
Kill Switch is a delightfully action-packed indie movie that will knock your socks off with its clever filming style, compelling story, and genuinely terrifying moments loaded with suspense and dread. The choice to shoot it from Porter’s first-person perspective is super clever, but Kill Switch also includes a technological interface on the screen that is supposed to be the information Porter is privy to such as identifying people, his own injuries, and being able to analyze information on-screen, which marks it out among the crowd.
As a fan of video games in first-person POV, this very much felt like a videogame to me, especially when Kill Switch mixed together CGI elements of deadly drones and live action shots of real people shooting back. Additionally, as the plot develops and Porter experiences a variety of different injuries, the on-screen interface provides information with the potential to be hard to translate, while helping you realize how much danger Porter is in.
Also, scenes from first person, when done right, can be more impactful and terrifying than if they were shown from a third person perspective. For example, in Kill Switch, there is a shot where Porter is watching a passenger train being dumped out of the sky like unwanted garbage and helplessly sees it fall on a building not far from him, which cases waves of concussive explosions that injure and affect him. A shot from an outside perspective of something that scary could be just as effective, but the sense of vicarious terror that exudes from the first person POV provides a deeper cinematic experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Now, although I think that Kill Switch’s choice to go with a filming style that mixed an action, apocalyptic video game with Hardcore Henry is magnificent, this may be a turn-off for other viewers. For someone not familiar with the fast-paced, shaky cam effects that come with a videogame or a movie shot like this, some of the movement could potentially be nauseating or difficult to follow. There were some moments throughout Kill Switch that I wished would have slowed down so the entirety of the environment could be appreciated, but it wasn’t distracting enough to stop my movie-watching experience.
Another aspect that I relished in with Kill Switch was that, as a protagonist, Porter is not a perfect or physically strong character. He at least has two concussions in the film, gets shot at, has his ass kicked multiple times, and even struggles to react to some of the deadly situations that he faces throughout the movie. I liked this trait because it is more indicative of the reality of a physicist and ex-pilot being thrust into a world that has fallen into shambles.
Porter, refreshingly, can’t physically handle some of the predicaments he finds himself in, he doesn’t always know what to do, and he is understandably freaked out by what is happening around him. Basically, Porter does not fall into the typical action hero tropes where he is all knowing, all powerful, and all he needs is bubble gum and a machine gun to save the world. As a viewer, you can connect with Porter on a human level because not everyone would run into the end of times barechested, screaming and shooting with no fear.
Watching Kill Switch is wildly entertaining and a good time all round. My only big complaint would be the ending. After 80 or so minutes of kickass, non-stop tension, action, and crazy occurrences, Kill Switch ends on a high note that cops out of really wrapping things up in a way that did a huge disservice the film. This was so disappointing since I was sucked into Kill Switch, but this kind of ending is a hard pill to swallow.
However, all things considered, Kill Switch is fun, an awesome movie to watch with friends or if you’re in the mood for an action flick with an uncomplicated story and a different twist. But, if you are not willing to be let down gently after a terrible ending then you can skip it.
Catch Kill Switch when it is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on August 22.
WICKED RATING 5/10
Director(s): Tim Smit
Writer(s): Charlie Kindinger, Omid Nooshin
Stars: Dan Stevens, Berenic Marlohe, Tygo Gernandt
Studio/ Production Co: CTM Productions Bv, FilmNation Entertainment
Release date: June 16, 2017
Length: 91 min