Drew Bolduc’s 2019 film Assassinaut from DREAD, is rocketing onto Blu-Ray this summer. Assassinaut tells the story of four young astronauts, who on their first day of admission into an elite space program, are forced to jump ship when an assassination attempt is made on the President of Earth. Stranded on an alien planet, the four teens search for the President (Irene Santiago) who has crash landed somewhere in the nearby wilderness. Assassinaut plays on several genres at one time. Part coming of age, part horror, and part 80’s adventure movie, Assassinaut is a film that while being both absurd and often times enjoyable, doesn’t quite arrive to the over the top level it sets itself up for.
During the first few minutes, the film seems like a fun throwback to 50’s sci-fi movies with a gory payoff. There is an engaging black and white scene that features a wonderful eye monster reminiscent of old science fiction films and television series. This touch of nostalgia draws the viewer in at one level, then the movie switches to a war film complete with conspiracies and stoic characters, a story that sets up that Earth is at war with aliens.Then the rest of the film becomes an interesting mix of horror and kid adventure movie where instead of children searching for treasure or a magical quest, the young astronauts find themselves in bloody battles with parasitic monsters While the genres switch at every scene, little development is given to these odes to pay off in the film.
The horror aspects of the film introduce some nice gruesome effects. Bolduc’s exceptional use of sound during brutal killing adds extra gore to blood visuals. There is not much in the way of scares, but surprising choices are made for several confrontations in the film that elicit the audience’s attention.
Assassinaut does offer some exceptional performances, even by characters who are only in the film for a matter of minutes. There are a couple of standouts, the Commander, played by Vito Trigo plays the trope character of a man who has been hardened by war, but with a reluctant need to protect the young astronauts. Dramatic, and a bit over the top, Trigo gives a truly enjoyable performance. Making a brief appearance is the role of Captain Jack. It is hinted that there is some bad blood between the Commander and the Captain, but none of that is really explored or revisited. That being said, Captain Jack (Dietrich Teschner) leaves his mark on the film with an excessive, but fun performance. The titular Assassinaut, Sara, played by Shannon Hutchinson, executes her role masterfully. She is intense and determined, everything an assassinaut should be.
Overall, Assassinaut is an homage to sci-fi films through the ages with a bloody modern twist. The performances are great and are key to the film’s mash up of genres. The gore is great, but there could be more. Again, the movie sets the audience up for the excess of drive-in movies, but falls a bit short. All in all, Assassinaut is an entertaining film that fans of many genres can enjoy.