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ALIEN INVASION: S.U.M. 1 (2017)
Directed by Christian Pasquariello
Written by Christian Pasquariello, Gabrielle Pfeiffer
Starring Iwan Rheon, André Hennicke, Rainer Werner, Zoe Grisedale, Niels-Bruno Schmidt, Tim Williams, Lesley Suzanne Dean, & Doc the Rat!
Find out more about this film here
Christian Pasquariello delivers a potent and powerful little sci fi descent into madness tale set on a future world overwhelmed by alien invaders in ALIEN INVASION: S.U.M. 1.
GAME OF THRONES and INHUMANS’ Iwan Rheon plays a good guy for a change in this low level sci fi film. Here he plays S.U.M.1, a soldier in the resistance against an invading alien armada called the “Nonesuch” which has forced humanity to take shelter underground as they murder, poison, and destroy any human in their path. Still, there is a resistance and S.U.M 1 is part of a unit that mans a watchtower close on the perimeter of the battlezone. S.U.M.1 is assigned to stay 100 days alone in this watchtower, checking in regularly with homebase and trying not to die of boredom. But when security cameras begin to go out and movement is detected in the periphery, S.U.M.1 begins questioning just what the “Nonesuch” is, if they really exist, and what happened to the soldier he replaced. Befriending a little white rat, S.U.M.1 tries his best to hold on to his sanity with the world going crazy around him.
This is a one-man show style film and it’s a fantastic one at that. Rheon is superb as S.U.M.1, a reflection of what humanity has become after the “Nonesuch” has invaded—robotic, emotionless, and focused on surviving. We watch him go through the banal routine for quite a few days of his tour of duty in the watchtower before the action really begins and Rheon, though he is rather a blank slate with his bleach blonde hair and white irises (because the humans have been living underground for a lifetime), allows enough humanity in to make the viewer like him. As the time goes on, and S.U.M.1’s loneliness creeps in, even more of that humanity shows up, making the soldier’s plight all the more arduous to witness.
Now, there is a lot of metaphor going on here. With names like S.U.M.1 and Nonesuch, it’s not that hard to see what kind of message Pasquariello is going for as he shows no man is an island and sometimes the lack of a threat is more threatening than one right in one’s face. This film tackles the horror of solitude with some fantastically paced and tension-filled scenes of S.U.M.1 leaving the watchtower and skirting the limits of his post. The monster aliens themselves are not really important here. The true battle going on in ALIEN INVASION: S.U.M.1 is the one going on in the soldier’s head. There is some grueling action scenes and a good amount of suspense as S.U.M.1 inches closer to the truth. I was involved all the way through, mainly due to some clever writing and directing and the impressive performance by Rheon. Reminiscent of MOON, those of you who like your sci fi simple will definitely want to put this on your must see list.
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