January 2, 2018 The Rizen (Movie Review)
The Rizen, a brand new Action/Horror/Sci-Fi offering from writer-director Matt Mitchell, will be unleashed on the unsuspecting public via VOD, thanks to Uncork’d Entertainment, on January 2, 2018. This little gem shines bright with a stellar cast and is a welcome respite from the current zombiefest happening throughout Horror.
Laura Swift (It Never Sleeps 2014, The Snowman 2017) plays the lead heroine role as Francis Day, an unassuming military recruit. Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones’ Diary 2001, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2016) has a cameo as a mysterious, suited woman with a hard-as-nails demeanor. Bruce Payne (Passenger 57 1992, Warlock III: The End of Innocence video 1999) plays a no-nonsense admin, while Julian Rhind-Tutt (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2001, Stardust 2007) plays the blast door scientist. Tom Goodman Hill (The Imitation Game 2014, Everest 2015) assumes the role of 37, a potent force against evil, while Adrian Edmondson (The Young Ones series, Star Wars: The Last Jedi 2017) plays an interviewer to prospective recruits.
The Rizen is a veritable roller coaster of cinematic delight for Sci-Fi enthusiasts everywhere who hunger for the thrill ride of a zombie-esque creature feature. Throughout its 94 minute run-time it sometimes flies along at breakneck speed, and at other times slows down its trajectory to a near halt to enable the viewer ample opportunity to glimpse into the true darkness of the human soul.
We will see first-hand the steely determination that is essential to accomplish the mission impossible of developing an arms arsenal that is superior to all others despite its heinous conception. For those who happens to have a weak stomach then this movie is definitely not in their cards, for it is replete with intensely graphic, gory scenes that will set your teeth on edge and possibly trigger an onset of nausea. However, if you are of a mind-over-matter mindset, be sure to bring along a plastic bag just in case.
In The Rizen, the military has recruited an assemblage of ruthless scientists who are hell-bent on helping the government gain the upper-hand in the arms race at any cost. Thus, these scientists are currently conducting top-secret experiments on humans using occult rituals and an assortment of runic symbology. Each experimental subject is then marked with an identifying number and has in his possession an ID that details his/her personal information. Over the course of time, the scientists succeed in not only creating a formidable human-alien hybrid army, but also created a fail-safe that can be activated immediately in case things go awry.
Needless to say, things go completely awry and the camera lens is plunged deep into the heart of a subterranean tunnel where a Rambo-esque heroine, Frances, awakens as she is dragged along the corridor by one of these hybrids. She engages all of her survival instincts and resourcefulness in a one-on-one lethal combat with the hybrid, wherein she exhibits an extraordinary level of strength and agility. The audience is made aware that she has been conditioned through electro-shock to fight until the death and has a tendency to continue bombarding her quarry with blows well beyond what is deemed necessary. Throughout the movie she continuously hones her skill as a single-minded, brutal killing machine.
As she continues to navigate through the tunnel-maze, she comes across one of the aforementioned, infamous doctors, Professor Richard Baughman – played by Christopher Tajah (Dempsey and Makepeace 1985, Webcast 2018) – who is apparently suffering from the same sort of amnesia she experiences and who enthusiastically accompanies her on her journey, thus ensuring his longevity in-the-process. In their travels, they encounter another human and help him fight off his jailers who were bent on transforming him into a hybrid in order to add to their ranks. This mismatched trio then joins together to create a formidable force against the evil that face them in the subterranean depths. Despite the seeming futility of her situation, Francis is determined to ensure that the alien forces do not escape, regardless of the cost of her sacrifice.
Throughout the film there is a sprinkling of dark humor that eases the mental crush of the adrenaline rush, helping to offer viewers a moment of breath between all of the action. Ultimately, however, The Rizen leaves its viewers off with a cliffhanger, signaling that there is more to come from the “Devourer of Worlds.” With The Rizen 2 already in post-production, fans will simply have to wait to discover what new worlds await Francis in the upcoming sequel. Waiting on pins and needles (ouch), CrypticRock gives The Rizen 4 out of 5 stars.