Sunday, June 3, 2018


This review may contain spoilers.

In an age where smart cars are driving themselves, "Upgrade" doesn't seem so far off from where we are heading. Like all good sci-fi stories, there's the ever encroaching progress of technology that threatens to remove our humanity and replace it with something "better" and more capable. People are replaced by machines- they don't drive their own cars, human police rely on drone cameras, we're given implants, and the list goes on. And all of this surrounds and weaves it's way through this "Deathwish"-inspired jaunt or vengeance.

Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is a stay at home mechanic specializing in classic cars. His wife is a tech-savvy of the Cobalt corporation. After delivering his latest rebuild to Eron Keen, the couple are victims of a malfunctioning smart car and a gang of street mercenaries. His wife is killed in front of him and Grey is left a paraplegic from the neck down. The police investigation stalls and Grey is at rock bottom, looking for an end. Which is where Eron steps in and offers the man another option- installation of STEM, a computer chip that will fuse and activate the nerve responses and move Greys' body for him.

What transpires is a blood-fueled roaring rampage of revenge as STEM reveals itself to be far more advanced than Eron suggested and far more capable of helping then Grey thought imaginable. With the hosts express permission, STEM is even able to turn Grey's body into a deadly weapon. But don't be fooled by the action, the suspense, or the direction of the story- this is a tale of horror at it's very core.


9 out of 10....

--- But why do I describe it as a "horror" film when it is so clearly an action yarn of revenge? Because that's not what this is.... spoilers below.

**** SPOILER ****

**** SPOILER ****

**** SPOILER ****

Because this is a tale of technology versus humanity. STEM is ruthless in it's attempts to exact brutal retribution on the gang responsible. Grey is, at times, forced to watch in horror as STEM sets about the task of protecting the body it now inhabits. There is no mercy, no compassion, and there is no stopping STEM. As it asserts more and more control of Grey, he finds himself losing control of what it means to be human. This is a tale of body horror at it's very core, masked and distracting with a tone of action until the brutal conclusion that left me stunned as I watched the scrolling credits.

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