This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
nikki’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
“Grey's not here anymore. He's in a better place. In his mind, where he wants to be. I've taken over now.”
2018’s Upgrade is a genre-bending sci-fi/horror movie directed by Leigh Whannell (The Invisible Man), starring Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus, The Invitation) as technophobic Grey, who is rendered paralysed from the neck down after a mugging, which also claimed the life of his wife Asha (Melanie Vallajo, Power Rangers: Mystic Force). Depressed and traumatised, Grey is then offered an experimental solution to help him walk again in the form of a STEM implant. Little does he know that the implant has a mind of its own, and when it offers to help him seek revenge, Grey is pulled into a bloody and murderous state of affairs.
Let’s break it down;
Upgrade, much like The Invisible Man, shows off just how talented Leigh Whannell is, though unlike the latter is not a slow-burn. Upgrade is very quick paced, which fits the steampunk action vibe it gives off.
Every single action sequence in this movie is masterful, much in part to the great camerawork and Logan Marshall-Green’s dedicated performance. Between his brilliant line deliveries when the film is willing to get a bit silly, he also showcases remorse and regret for the acts he commits when STEM is in the driving seat.
Almost every kill here is brutal, save for a few gunshot wounds. There’s bisecting a mouth, someone being shot with their own gun-hand and much, much more on show here, and it’s pretty awesome.
Upgrade really does commit to it’s futuristic setting, with one of the bad guys even having a lethal sneeze (it sounds ridiculous, but actually works), and the synth-heavy score by Jed Palmer is great.
Betty Gabriel (Get Out) is pretty great here too, if a little under-utilised.
If I do have any issues to bring up, it’s that I’m not a huge fan of the Women in Refrigerators trope popping up, though it is the basis for the movie. I’m just hoping we one day reach a better place for women in horror.
Also, whilst I enjoyed what we got and hope we get a sequel, I do think having the killing of Asha being completely random is more tragic than some conspiracy, though that is more a minor nitpick.
Overall, I definitely recommend this fun little movie.
(also is it just me or does Logan Marshall-Green look exactly like Tom Hardy, and does this movie not feel exactly like what a good version of 2018’s Venom could’ve been?)