Directed by Scott Wheeler and written by Ryan C. Coleman, a young scientist rebels against her mentor and starts changing a highly advanced humanoid A.I. Starring: Lara Heller, Brian A. Metcalf, Michael Monks, Don Wallace and Chris Lee.
A.I. has over the years become a top staple of sci-fi and horror, often exploring the dangers that it holds and the potentially disastrous results but Synth goes in a slightly different direction, focusing more on the impact of those creating it than the creation itself. The most surprising element, however, is adding sexual harassment and subtle predatory behaviour, it’s a welcome addition that leads the progression of the story and makes it feel like a fresher take. It’s fairly observant in the way it captures how slight touches and phrasing are used to manipulate. Although, it’s a shame the film didn’t really have enough time to fully explore this aspect and thereby lets itself down by not giving sufficient perspective to what could be considered the most important element of its story.
Regardless, the writing does do justice to the sci-fi themes, the progression isn’t perfect but it builds a nice amount of tension as the story builds to its grand finale. It’s supported by some great location choices that add a real variety and more expansive feel to the film, as well as being simply aesthetically pleasing. In turn that’s supported by the special effects additions to the visual, they’re relatively simple but that’s why they work so well, had the film tried to bring them through in a more physical fashion, it would have likely cheapened it.
Wheeler’s direction fits well with the sci-fi themed story, the choice of shots make for a fairly sleek style. The performances are well done from Heller and Monks in the lead roles, they both tick the boxes for what the story’s asking of them. Although, the performances of their synthetic humans do feel as though they’re trying too hard to seem robotic at times, though it’s a very minor issue that doesn’t affect the film overall.
Synth manages to keep itself from feeling overly familiar while tackling a common theme of sci-fi but gives itself too big of a task introducing a more tangible story that it doesn’t have the time to explore with the depth that it needs. There are several elements that work well together, the direction, locations, acting and effects but by opening up the possibility of something much larger, it stopped itself from reaching its full potential.