Await Further Instructions
Director: Johnny Kevorkian
Writer: Gavin Williams
Cast: Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Abigail Cruttenden, David Bradley, Grant Masters, Holly Weston, Kris Saddler
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 22.9.2018
Content Note: Racism
The Milgrams have come together for Christmas. Nick (Sam Gittins) has brought home his girlfriend Annji (Neerja Naik). Unfortunately Nick’s grandfather (David Bradley) is a raging racist, making things incredibly uncomfortable in addition to the usual family tensions with Nick’s constantly worried mother (Abigail Cruttenden), his dominant father (Grant Masters), pregnant sister (Holly Weston) and her husband (Kris Saddler). On Christmas Day, Nick and Annji have had enough. But when they try to leave they discover that the house is covered in goo that has blocked them in. The TV cautions them to stay inside and await further instructions – and those instructions become increasingly strange.
Await Further Instructions starts off interesting enough, but I didn’t really get into the film and the longer it lasted, the more this became a problem.
The film really starts off well. The way they set up the family was well done and the racism angle is pretty interesting. Unfortunately, they didn’t do the necessary character building to really pull it off. The characters remain flat and ultimately the racism is pretty much limited to the grandfather who is pretty much a caricature of a racist instead of confronting the way all white people are complicit in racism and how we’ve all internalized racism. Racism isn’t necssarily a cranky old white guy hurling slurs.
I also didn’t really buy the speed of the escalation. The instruction go from “this may be legit instructions” to (basically) “kill each other” and almost nobody questioning it way too quickly. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I do feel that even the least critical of people would balk a little longer.
I did like the monster when it was revealed. It looked great and was well done. But at the same time, making TVs evil instead of the people making TV seems like an abstraction or reduction too many. Media isn’t the problem. The way we use media to turn people against each other is.
Anyway, towards the end, the film does start to drag a little and loses most of its momentum. Or actually, it never really built its momentum for me – and during the showdown, this really becomes the last nail in the coffin of the film.
Summarizing: didn’t work for me.