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Review: NEKROTRONIC (2018)

Back in 2014, Kiah Roache-Turner came out of nowhere with Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead. A wild mix of Mad Max and Shaun Of The Dead, it was a surprise success with genre fans. Now after five years, he’s back with Nekrotronic, and he’s brought Monica Bellucci along for the ride. Can he make lightning strike twice?

The script, co-written by Turner and his brother Tristan, is as unhinged as the previous film, but the menace this time is demonic rather than the walking dead. The Queen of the Underworld (Monica Bellucci, Brotherhood of the Wolf) has devised a novel way to collect souls. A Pokémon Go type demon hunting game that allows her to steal souls via the internet. Evil has gone high-tech.

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Howard North (Ben O’Toole) is a sewer worker. Which is fitting as his life is in the shitter, and about to get worse. It seems he’s the descendant of a long line of demon-hunting Necromancers. He’s about to save the world, whether he wants to or not. But he does have some help from a team of shotgun-wielding ghost hunters. And his newly dead friend Rangi (Epine Bob Savea) who he’s managed to turn into a wraith.

The plot follows a familiar pattern. Our hero gets sucked into something way out of his control. He’s rescued by those who recognize his powers and is trained to use them. Then he goes into battle with the villains. Nekrotronic both follows and subverts it with an everything but the kitchen sink plot. There are elements of They Live, Tron and, of course, Ghostbusters among others thrown into the mix. There is also a wonderful visual nod to Hellraiser.

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While it’s not the least bit serious, I should point out that Nekrotronic isn’t a parody either. It’s a fun roller coaster ride that rarely slows down. There are bursts of humour, mostly of a very dark variety, but they’re not the film’s main focus.

For a modestly budgeted film, Nekrotronic has loads of action and very well executed effects. It is mostly CGI but, apart from some blood splatter, they’re quite well done. The various strange gadgets and the assortment of ghosts and demons they’re used on are a wickedly varied lot and add tremendously to the film’s success.

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Nekrotronic is a film I intend to watch twice. After watching it, sober like a responsible reviewer should, I’m going to have a few beers and revisit it. It should be even more fun then.|

Momentum Pictures will release Nekrotronic to theatres and HD Digital on August 9th. Keep updated via its Facebook page.

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