Prototype Review: Lo-Fi Sci-Fi Horror Leaves Everything To Be Desired

Danielle Scott and Luke Robinson in Prototype

Mundy is obviously working with limited resources, with android costumes that might have been in the old star trek and Doctor Who episodes, and while that’s a tough hurdle for sci-fi stories, these two examples prove that production value isn’t the key to audience engagement. The script is perhaps the most important here. A compelling story and strong characterization can overcome most obstacles, but Prototype has neither; storylines are introduced only to get nowhere and character motivations are often ill-defined or downright absurd, making it difficult to invest in any of the drama. There’s obviously huge thematic potential in the living androids premise, and the film shows signs of wanting to explore it, but a lack of clarity in what One and Two can and can’t do makes it hard to pull off. conclusions – plus a vague endorsement of the power of love in the final moments.

However, clinging to the film’s lack of big ideas would border on unreasonable, and Prototype all of the aforementioned flaws could have been forgiven by simply being fun. This is, after all, science fiction horror, and horror fans are willing to forgive a lot if there’s creativity where it counts. But, aside from the occasional choice of camera placement, the film struggles to be interesting. The story never builds tension or makes any real attempt at surprise. The kill scenes are either uninspired or poorly executed (pun intended), and the humor just doesn’t land. More performance choices, knowingly or unknowingly, might have provided some level of fun so bad, but the film seems determined to play the story straight in ways it can’t sustain. One of them, for example, is very seriously positioned as a sympathetic character, despite the fact that the way Robinson’s eyes sit in the costume makes him look like the masked killer of silence. Acknowledging that fact and working with it, instead of trying to ignore it and overcome it, could have pushed the movie in a more interesting and entertaining direction.

Zoe Purdy and Danielle Scott in Prototype

As it stands, Mundy’s earnest but costed approach to already lackluster material leaves the film devoid of any sign of passion or creative spark. Moviemaking is a tough business that won’t always result in a successful end product, but even movies that don’t work show why a group of people would put all that effort into making it in the first place. These moments are at least something to remember for a viewer, and enough for many to justify skipping the end credits. Here, however, there is little room for the public to enjoy their time watching. Prototypeeven entering with the most reasonable expectations.

Prototype becomes available digitally on Tuesday, April 5. The film is 88 minutes long and is currently unrated.

Our assessment:

1 out of 5 (poor)


More information about Prototype Review: Lo-Fi Sci-Fi Horror Leaves Everything To Be Desired

Danielle Scott and Luke Robinson in Prototype
Mundy is obviously working with limited resources, with android costumes that could’ve featured in old Star Trek and Doctor Who episodes, and while that is a challenging hurdle for sci-fi stories, those two examples prove that production value is not the be-all-end-all of audience engagement. The script is perhaps most important here. A gripping story and strong characterization can overcome most obstacles, but Prototype has neither; plotlines are introduced only to go nowhere and character motivations are often either poorly defined or downright absurd, making it hard to be invested in any of the drama. There’s obviously enormous thematic potential in the premise of live-in androids, and the film shows signs of wanting to explore it, but a lack of clarity in what One and Two can and cannot do makes it difficult to draw any conclusions — besides a vague endorsement of the power of love in the concluding moments.
Getting hung up on the movie’s lack of big ideas would verge on the unreasonable, however, and Prototype could’ve had all the aforementioned flaws forgiven by just being fun. This is, after all, a sci-fi horror, and horror fans are willing to forgive a great deal if there’s creativity where it counts. But, outside of the occasional choice of camera placement, the movie struggles to be interesting. The story never builds any tension or makes any real attempt at surprise. The kill scenes are either uninspired or poorly executed (pun intended), and the humor just doesn’t land. More out-there performance choices, whether knowingly so or not, could have provided some level of so-bad-it’s-good enjoyment, but the movie seems intent on playing the story straight in a way it can’t sustain. One, for example, is very earnestly positioned as a sympathetic character, despite the fact that the way Robinson’s eyes sit in the costume make him resemble the masked killer from Hush. Acknowledging this fact and working with it, instead of trying to ignore and overcome it, could have pushed the film in a more interesting, entertaining direction.

Zoe Purdy and Danielle Scott in Prototype
As it stands, Mundy’s earnest but by-the-numbers approach to already lackluster material leaves the movie devoid of any sign of passion or creative spark. Filmmaking is a challenging endeavor that won’t always result in a successful final product, but even movies that don’t work show flashes of why a group of people would put in all that effort to make it in the first place. Those moments are at least something for a viewer to hold onto, and enough for many to justify having sat through to the end credits. Here, however, there is little room for audiences to enjoy their time watching Prototype, even when entering with the most reasonable of expectations.
Prototype becomes available on digital Tuesday, April 5. The film is 88 minutes long and is currently unrated.

Our Rating:
1 out of 5 (Poor)

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