This anarchic genre mashup will find its fans, but it’s pretty much devoid of original ideas and the overall effect is grating.
The other day I wrote about Netflix’s Wu Assassins and by extension the idea of “guilty pleasure” entertainment. I thought that was a really good example of when the term truly applies, but I spoke too soon. Nekrotronic, courtesy of Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner, is all guilt and little pleasure in an enthusiastic but ultimately wearing mashup of low-brow stoner humor, gore-soaked visuals and story elements borrowed from Ghostbusters and Tron and Blade and Blade Runner and whatever else besides.
Monica Bellucci is in this, which I thought you should know. She’s overacting a villain part, in charge of internet-invading demons in conflict with necromancers played by David Wenham, Caroline Ford, and Tess Haubrich, who eventually find an ally in regular dude Howie (Ben O’Toole), who turns out to be an oblivious hero. It’s the usual stuff.
And from there Nekrotronic only gets wilder — but with its excess comes… nothing, really. It’s wall-to-wall pastiche with no sense of novelty or craftmanship. The brothers Roache-Turner are enthusiastic and appreciative fans with a range of recognizable influences but, beyond an ability to isolate what other people find appealing about those things, they lack the chops to reassemble the borrowed parts into an interestingly new composition.
It won’t be a problem for some, but then again neither is all kinds of stuff that’s a major problem for everyone else. But it also wouldn’t be such a big deal if Nekrotronic wasn’t such a relentless barrage of stuff, all thrown at a blood-drenched wall in the hopes of it sticking — and most of it doesn’t. There’s the odd stray idea that works, though nothing has the time or space to work for long, and there’s a bit of fun to be had in the film’s anarchic attitude, though after a while it’s self-satisfaction just becomes a bit tedious. Anyone who likes this will likely know ahead of time, making it basically review-proof, but for the benefit of those on the fence, it’s worthing knowing that the only thing on the other side is a yard full of stolen goods.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.