The Hyperborean has been written and directed by filmmakers who have been serving a 10-year sentence in my personal “movie jail” since being responsible for the gross-out body horror Septic Man. After missing their recent collaborations, director Jesse Thomas Cook and screenwriter Tony Burgess have appeared on my radar with their latest sci-fi mashup The Hyperborean and, thankfully, it’s pretty good.
Using flashbacks, the story sets up several dynamics within a tense and selfish family. The wayward siblings are being interviewed about several sudden and bizarre deaths, including their father’s (played by Burgess), that have taken place during a family meeting. The primary interview is a standoff between a crisis manager, Mr. Denbok (Justin Bott), and the eldest daughter, Diana (Liv Collins of The Hexecutioners). No matter how much pushback Diana receives from Denbok, she sticks with her story that something supernatural was the bane of their unfortunate circumstances.
It’s hard not to accuse the production for cashing in on a current trend – families with obnoxious personalities who are involved with murder mysteries (Knives Out anyone? Daniel’s Gotta Die anyone?). However, the most surprising twist to The Hyperborean is its resemblance to Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, a creature feature that isn’t so much about the monster as it is about family drama. The Hyperborean is an inspired character-driven flick that becomes stronger when the characters are bonded together over catastrophes.
Cook and Burgess still get their laughs at the expense of “supernatural incompetence” or exaggerated buffoonery by entitled oafs, but they never take their eyes off of the emotional core driving their sci-fi yarn.
The Hyperborean screens at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival on Friday, November 24 at 9:00 p.m. at Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre.
For more information on the festival, visit the official BITS webpage here.
Buy tickets here.
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