Review: The Fore-men

Written and directed by Adrian Bobb, weeks after a mysterious time-compression event violently splices environments from the past and future into the present, two survivors encounter the figures responsible. Starring: Gabriel Darku and Sophia Walker.

One of the devices that modern filmmakers often seem to forget is the power of not immediately revealing your monster, threat or villain. Letting your audience’s imagination run away with them while they try to figure out what danger lies ahead is a classic choice and works so well, and it’s satisfying to see Adrian Bobb employ it with The Fore-men. It’s one of several aspects which work to create a great mystery and tension to this story, another being the pacing which has a gradually growing intensity. An impressive element is how succinctly it gets across the complexities of the story in a short time frame, many would have fallen into a hole of convolution. It feels like Bobb played on how commonplace films with multiple timelines, multiverses and fractured universes have become to create something that’s complicated but easy to grasp, and nicely open to different interpretations. It also helps that he wrote characters who feel intellectual, logical and resourceful to lead the way through this new wasteland of time.

Characters who are superbly portrayed by Gabriel Darku and Sophia Walker, they instantly have a strong presence and connection. It’s not easy to capture the right balance of fear, bravery and survival instincts, it opens up the trap of becoming melodramatic but Darku and Walker evade that skilfully. One of the great things to these performances is that they don’t play to stereotypes, they both feel incredibly capable and smart but also relatable and sympathetic. They also both tap into just the right amount of emotion, it’s extremely convincing and really helps to punch up the tension and suspense throughout.

There’s an interesting feel to The Fore-men, while it is undeniably modern, the way that it moves and how the story unfolds feels like a nod to 1960s and 70s cinema, which only makes it more enticing. It’s always a smart move to use effects sparingly, and here they have a strong presence but they’re not a constant companion, letting the characters and story hold the focus. It builds a big world for itself in those few additions, the effects are terrific work and the visual overall holds a sincerely high quality throughout. It’s especially impressive considering the vastly different styles at work, starting out much simpler and in nature, then moving to a small location that’s almost reminiscent of the house in Night of the Living Dead, before opening it up entirely to really embrace the sci-fi themes. That’s another great aspect to the film, how it uses genre, the initial introduction has an adventure edge to it before dipping its toes into horror and evolving into sci-fi, it’s a satisfying transition to watch unfold.

The Fore-men goes from strength to strength, the direction, aesthetic and effects are all extremely well done and they’re supported by great performances and a captivating script. It’s entertaining and gripping, there’s a superb level of tension and suspense which only grow as it moves forward. It impressively condenses what other films may cover in an entire hour into less than fifteen minutes. There’s a lot happening and yet it never feels confusing, it has a foundation of the familiar but also feels entirely original.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯½ | 9/10

Screening as part of HollyShorts 2022 on August 14

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