Science Fiction is one of the hardest genres to accomplish — convincingly — on a budget, but it can be done: our recent reviews for Ares 11, Double Riddle, Space, and Space Trucker Bruce are proof of that point. And if you appreciated the recent, effective against-the-budget tales regarding the complex subject matter of time travel spun in Same Boat and Making Time (both rom-com oriented), then you’ll appreciate this tale (a thriller) regarding a group of scientists whose experiments with the human soul, in an effort to bend space and time, jeopardize the very fabric of the universe.
Every time I come to appreciate one of these inventive-style-on-a-budget sci-fi’ers, I can’t help but recall the intelligence of Shane Carruth’s low-budget time travel drama Primer from 2004. This time, we have Jim Agnew weaving an analogous thinking-man’s journey in the realms of theoretical physics.
For us giallo fans, ex-Film Threat Magazine scribe and rock video director Jim Agnew (The Mars Volta) is name we known from Giallo, his 2009 screenwriting debut directed by Dario Argento. His other Final Draft works include the Wesley Snipes-starring Game of Death (2011), Nicolas Cage’s Rage (2014), and the always enjoyable Wes Bentley in Broken Vows (2016). As a producer, Agnew also brought us the Cage in Between World (2018). In this, his fifth screenwriting effort, Agnew makes his feature film directing debut — one that won “Best Feature Film” at the 2017 Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest.
Since we’re in the low-budget realms, don’t expect the flashy “body horror” romps of Ken Russel’s Altered States (1980), the Brat Packery of Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners (1990), or David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986). And while Jim Agnew has brought some interesting metaphysical concepts to the table — spiritual theories that would have greatly benefited from the budget and set designs afforded those major studio productions — the fact that we’re inside a minimally set-dressed, dreary warehouse for most of the film, one equipped with lots of wires and laptops — with our test subjects lying on cots with attached electrodes — doesn’t detract from the story.
Louis (a very good Jordan Tisdale in his feature film and leading man debut; he had a support role in a 2020 episode of FOX-TV’s recently cancelled Deputy) is a theoretical physicist who believes he can break the First Law of Thermodynamics by channeling the human body’s energy and heat into the afterlife via the human soul: he believes dark matter, which comprises over 80% of the matter is the universe, is composed of “human souls.”
While Louis’s — and his assistant Alex ‘s (Irish television actress Nora-Jane Noone from 2005’s The Descent and 2008’s Doomsday) spiritual questions are noble inquiries, their ethics come into question as they secure payments of two-million dollars from each from four terminally-ill test subjects (Amanda Wyss from Fast Times at Ridgemont High and A Nightmare on Elm Street ’84) who volunteer to be euthanized in the hopes their “dark matter” can be returned to, and renew, their physical world — with no guarantee the theory will even work.
But it does work. And Louis and Alex have “captured” — instead of resurrecting one their four test subjects — a “soul guide” from the afterlife. And their inability to send the possessive entity back into the dark matter from which it came will destroy the spiritual and physical realms.
As of November 2020 The Capture is now available for the first time as a free-with-ads stream from Freestyle Digital Media on Tubi TV. Other indie films from the studio on the Tubi platform include Ayla, Cut Shoot Kill, and Sick for Toys. Coming up on November 29th, we’re reviewing another recent, Freestyle release: the equally inventive-on-a-budget sci-fi’er The Control. Freestyle has also recently acquired the previously reviewed film festival winner Shedding, which will be released on December 8th across all digital platforms. You can watch the trailers for these films — and more — on Freestyle’s official You Tube page.
Disclaimer: We did not receive a review request from the studio or its P.R firm. We discovered this film on our own and truly enjoyed the work.