STARRING: John Klemantaski, Darren Kendrick, Glen Vaughan, Corey Landis, Larry Dirk, Danny Cameron, Elina Madison

2008, 84 Minutes, Directed by:
Tony Baez Milan

Ray Bradbury’s Chrysalis is one of those movies that one desperately wants to like, but simply doesn’t . . .

For starters it’s based a short story by a bona fide science fiction master, namely Ray Bradbury. OK, that isn’t particularly a guarantee for quality as anyone who has seen the travesty that was A Sound of Thunder a couple of years back. But whereas Sound of Thunder took endless liberties with Bradbury’s source short story, Chrysalis is endlessly faithful to the original short story and never dumbs the material at hand down. The only problem is that one often wishes that it did!

Ultimately there is nothing wrong with the movie’s premise and story. The surface world is an environmental disaster and humanity is confined to underground shelters. Yup, we have sure made a mess of things this time round! One scientist who has been surreptitiously sneaking to the surface world without protective gear to see if he can plant a tree starts getting sick. He falls into a coma and eventually it seems that a chrysalis of some sort is forming around him.

It is obviously that underneath it all the scientist is changing into something, but what is the question?

His hapless colleagues are undecided as to what to do: kill him before he “hatches”, or wait and see what happens? To complicate things one of the scientists brings in the military and you can only guess what their solution to the problem would be . . .

The problem isn’t with the story, but what he movie does with the story, which isn’t much.

It is let down by some bad acting and cheap production values. Chrysalis is almost entirely set inside an underground bunker, and the lack of budget means that the action is never opened up much to the outside world. The dialogue might also be taken verbatim from Bradbury’s short story, but it comes across as stilted and unnatural. People may have sounded like this back in 1966 when the story was written but they simply don’t really talk like this anymore. The editing is also clumsy.

Ultimately though it feels like someone filmed a community theatre play. The end result is on the dull and talky side. One actually wishes that they had made a horror movie out of it instead of a cerebral science fiction effort . . .


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