Fantasia Film Review: Sequence Break

Why don’t you try turning it off and back on again?

Sequence_Break

Oz (Chase Williams) lives happily bringing back to life old arcade machines from the 80’s. He’s quiet, introverted and socially distant. He’s not ready to play co-op when Tess (Fabiane Theresa) comes along. But Tess is just what the doctor ordered, a single player that knows her way around the old games that Oz reveres so much.

But soon enough, a video game card arrives in the mail that doesn’t match any game that Oz has ever seen. When he hooks it up to an arcade, the game seems simple enough. The more he plays, the weirder things get. The controls seem to melt in Oz’s hands, as if reality is bending and the game is melting into his mind.

He’s not the only person affected. Tess keeps looking at the black arcade, somehow drawn to it. A homeless man keeps breaking into the shop, talking in a deranged manner, warning Oz of apocalyptic consequences resting inside the game he’s playing.

Director and writer Graham Skipper brings us a strange little film in which choices matter and progress can’t be saved. The mystic homeless man quotes Nietzsche with the line “if you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you” as a warning. In my opinion, he should’ve quoted H.P. Lovecraft instead.

There are certain refreshing elements in Sequence Break that I can’t help myself from spoiling. My favorite is that Tess does not become the manic pixie girl for Oz. She’s just into video games and she likes Oz. My second favorite is that Oz doesn’t quiz her about her nerd credentials (i.e. gatekeeping) but accepts what she says at face value.

Highly recommended to see the crazy and the weird that pulls you into horror as if video games had always something haunted in them. Perhaps they do. There’s a moment in the film, that I won’t ruin for you, in which the storyline progresses as it would in a video game. That’s all I will say. At some point I will have to include this movie into a spoiler analysis, but for now I will give you a chance to put in a coin and press start when you’re ready to play.

That will do for now.

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