They gave Joshua access to the nuclear missile silos. They gave ED 209 a gun. They gave HAL a secret mission. They gave Skynet... well, just about everything. Now it seems they've given webcams legs. And concealed weapons. Will those military-security technical types never learn?
Eyeborgs premiered at the Sci-Fi-London opening night, a techno-horror in which cop Adrian Paul, journalist Megan Blake and guitar-playing teenage punk Luke Eberl take on an army of psychopathic robots. This is an unrepentant and delirious action movie although although the plot takes off from some serious concepts - it's very much a horror film for the CCTV age. But are the robots carrying out a secret government agenda, or has their network been compromised by terrorists? As the many abilities of the Eyeborgs gradually become apparent, the horror - and the gore - increase exponentially.
Eyeborgs Trailer by SFLTV
The Eyeborgs themselves, designed by CGI artist Chris Watson, are stylish creations - these innocent, chicken-like walking webcams follow the cast from room to room or track them from the rooftops, and prove both deadly and mischievous despite the fact that any individual cam can be shattered by a good swing with a 5 iron. Their larger six-legged cousins have a real sense of weight and solidity, ooze menace, and feature in some great action scenes and one genuine leap-out-of-your-seat fright. CGI and compositing is particularly well done and the effects stand up even in the complex fight scenes between Adrian Paul and the larger robots.
The soundtrack, including themes written by the director, is powerful and moody. Eyeborgs contains plenty of original ideas but also references a number of classic films including Robocop and 2001, for example the robot TV camera that turns on a red HAL light before trying to ram Megan Blake into a wall... Apart from invasion of privacy plot strands also highlight the way laws are created as a knee-jerk reaction to emotive events, and the trust people place both in authorities but also in images that can be manipulated. There are plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle digs at American electioneering and foreign policy, which along with the main themes give the film a decent satirical bite - and there's an eye for detail, including the alternative Stars and Stripes flag.
There was a lot of talk at the Q&A about how close this film is to real life - I am now watching my webcam for any suspicious movements...
Related article: my interview with effects supervisor Christopher Watson here.