Children shouldn't play with space things…
REVIEW BY JEREMIAH
Drew Bolduc's Assassinaut isn't like anything I've seen; at least, not recently. A film about child-astronaut scouter / terraformers being used to sell a public PR stunt in hopes of placating the hopeless people of a now ravaged Earth. After all, if some kids can inhabit the candidate alien planet, then so can anyone else. Or at least that's the thought. Unfortunately things don't exactly go according to plan (thanks to the obnoxious interference of an astronautical terrorist), and the kids (along with a mustachioed psycho) are marooned and in danger on the very planet chosen to save them and mankind.
What comes next is a series of on-again off-again encounters between the children and said psycho, leading to an eventual a boiling point (thanks to some bad fish) and then the blood and guts and slime come into play. The best parts of Assassinaut if I'm being frank; the gore and practical alien effects are honestly what I came to the film for, and it mostly delivered in that regard. It's a situation of quality over quantity, which given the budget, was probably the best approach. The rest of the film is held together by a plot, or rather a bunch of plots, which tenuously tie the leads to the core mission; and mainly, the focus is on Sarah (played wonderfully by Shannon Hutchinson)—who as the leader of the pack—commands the most screen time.
Performances among the main troup are surprisingly strong for the most part, alleviating a fear I had coming into Assassinaut. Child actors can be very hit or miss, even when the budgets are high, but thankfully there wasn't much in the way to complain about or distract from whatever was occuring on screen. The same can't be said of Vito Trigo however, who's performance unfortunately ranged from wooden and dry to over-the-top and forced. Problems that likely came as a result of a shaky script (unless he improvised his worst moments). Thankfully it isn't long before he completes his heel turn into total child-killing asshole and eschews talking in favor of grunting, yelling, and drooling — three things he completely nails. And just wait til the last act where all of those actions are married to the impressive practical fx work; truly the sleazy slimy stuff of nightmares!
If that last bit sounds like a good time, then perfect, because as mentioned earlier, this is where Assassinaut shines. It's a nutty bit of low budget sci-fi that aims to please with displeasure. The script and story are all over the place (and usually that place sits in the vicinity of bewilderment and cringe), but it's pretty good at being an audacious and mean-spirited romp through the cosmos.