After months of teasers and social media hints, Neill Blomkamp is getting the ball rolling with his experimental short film project Oats Studios. The studio’s latest release is a creepy 22-minute sci-fi short starring Dakota Fanning and Jose Pablo Cantillo as they try to escape an amorphous monster in a remote outpost in the Arctic.
The short, Zygote, is the third film released by Oats Studio in the past month that has been co-written and directed by Blomkamp.
Zygote seems like a cross between The Thing and Alien, with Fanning playing a hapless subordinate to Cantillo’s injured commanding officer, the lone survivors in an Arctic mining operation that has been beset upon by some genetically modified beast.
As they try to escape, they find that the monster has the ability to absorb all the people its killed into its body, making it nearly unkillable — as well as appropriately grotesque from the director who brought you plenty of body horror in District 9.
What the short film lacks in original storytelling it makes up for in intriguing graphics and character designs — the image of the pulsating, amorphous form of the monster will definitely be seared in my memory.
Zygote is the third short released by Oats Studios on their YouTube channel. The first, released about a month ago, was Rakka, sci-fi war short starring Sigourney Weaver; and the second, Firebase, pitted Vietnam War soldiers against zombie-like creatures.
You can see Firebase below:
There was also a three-minute long, more humorous short starring Blomkamp muse Sharlto Copley as God.
Oats Studios acts as a breeding ground for Blomkamp to test out ideas and concepts that could potentially turn into feature films in the future. After dealing with disappointing critical and commercial failures like Chappie and Elysium, it’s a good strategy for Blomkamp, who seemed to have lost his zeal after he exploded on the scene with his striking debut feature, District 9.
It’s also a return to Blomkamp’s roots, who first caught Hollywood’s attention with his short films Alive in Joburg, which eventually became District 9, and the Halo-inspired Landfall.
Blomkamp and Oats Studios are releasing the first series of short films online for public viewing as “Volume 1,” but are offering extra features and more shorts from “Volume 2” on Steam.
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