Ph.D. candidates make a major breakthrough in quantum computer architecture, awakening the team to disturbing possibilities. One by one, the students go mad, missing or both.
Written By: Michael Lauter
Directed By: Michael Lauter
First impressions of "Spectrauma" were a mixed bag for me. I was looking at a stylized, yet very familiar piece of indie film making on the visual level; I really liked what I was seeing. Any fan of 90s cinema will immediately feel at home with the films look, one that defined a generation. High contrast and a lot of darkened shots easily helped create a moody atmosphere. Yet "Spectrauma" was also super saturated for the most part and played like a fresh take on the older look, adding some spice and originality. The script itself was rather interesting as well. Nothing ground-breaking but original enough to keep my interest in place for the entire movie. As a stand-alone story, Michael Lauter has penned a good one, with enough metaphoric images and sounds to make even the most snobby of writers take notice for a least a while. As a whole film, I was personally entertained enough to keep me going through-out the movie, but never enough to stand up and applaud.
The technicalities of "Spectrauma" were more-or-less what most of us have come to expect from independent film makers, with most of the issues resting on the audio. Like most low budget productions, we have inconsistent levels and tone, and some slight "garbling" of dialog now and then. I've heard a lot worse from much larger films, but having the tone and clarity of someones dialog change, mid-sentence, sometimes can be awfully jarring. The use of motion (hand-held style) also made me wince a few times through-out the film. For some people, having a slight hand-held look creates some action or tension in scenes. For me... not so much. This is another time for me to blab about static, locked off shots being better than shaky or hand-held in 90 percent of all cases. Is this a personal gripe? Maybe it is. I just can't help but think that "Spectrauma" would have been so much better minus a lot of these styled, slightly shaky visuals. Where "Spectrauma" really did shine was with the score itself, as well as the general use of sound. I personally loved the whispy-echo-y sound along-side footsteps in a few places, and the general weird-ness through the film. Very atmospheric and put simply... awesome! Finally, let me touch up on the acting itself. Generally writing, it was pretty decent but did contain some cardboard moments scattered around the film. It's a funny thing because at times the acting was spot on, showing that the ability was present just maybe not utilized quite right. Other times however, it felt rushed or read straight from the page. If the acting had remained consistent through the film... let's just leave it at that.
As a feature film, "Spectrauma" is a solid piece of work. Enough to keep you interested for the 1.5 hours with no real complaints. Will it win the next Oscar? Probably not. That's not the point though. When you are looking to sit back and be entertained for a little while Michael Lauter and his crew step up and deliver with an above average film you'll enjoy. That's really what it's all about right? You can't really go wrong with "Spectrauma" and for that alone... we have a winner!
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