Originally shot under the rather unwieldy title Interpreters: a C & Earth Chronicle -- quantum 1, Interpreters is a film that slipped right under my radar. It’s doubly unusual as I frequently get screeners for films from its distributor. However, they seem to have let this slip out without any publicity. Which is a shame because this is one of the best films they’ve released.
After being set up on a mission in some foreign desert, corporate merc Mark Frost (Ace Marrero, The Last Heist) comes back home only to get the shaft from his employer the C & Earth conglomerate. He decides it’s time to step away from that life and buys a house in the tiny, population 891, town of Sullen. His habit of paying for things like houses in cash catches the attention of Sheriff Culven (Manny M. Hernandez, The Summoning).
But the sheriff soon has other things on his mind. Like a string of bizarre murders that seem to involve advanced technology. Could they have something to do with the company that’s buying up all the local property? Or is Mark’s arrival in town not a coincidence, for one reason or another? Why isn’t Mayor Stetson (Christopher Kriesa, Wind Walkers, Hellraiser: Inferno) overly concerned? And just who is Frost’s associate Reasonor (Erin Stegeman, Fun Size Horror: Volume One) and can she be trusted?
Interpreters is one of the few films that manages to justify a two hour run time. It does a nice job of laying out the situation without letting things get tedious. Writer/director Michael Ryan manages to avoid long stretches of expository dialogue. Enough information is passed along visually that it isn’t needed. That’s a nice change from either being bored by tons of information dump dialogue. Or conversely, having no clue what’s going on for most of the film.
The script taps into some of the more outrageous conspiracy theories out there and takes them at face value. Killers Within did this with David Icke’s lizard people. In the same way, Interpreters mixes fringe lunacy about corporations and alien technology, social media and who really runs the government into an enjoyably pulpy plot.
The action scenes are well enough done. It probably doesn’t hurt that, while he doesn’t show any martial arts skills, Marrero looks a bit like a young Van Damme. Interpreters villains are sufficiently nasty. They have no problems doing things such as shooting a little girl in the head. Effects are used sparingly but they are effective and at times quite bloody. A scene of a head being crushed is a particular standout.
Both the ending and “quantum 1” part of the original title hint that this is meant to be the first of a franchise. There’s certainly enough questions left unanswered to fuel a sequel or two.