After a teaser was shown a few days ago, Neill Blomkamp's Oats Studios has released the third 20-minute production from their Volume 1 of short films and sketches. Called Zygote, it's a slice of pure horror and marks another interesting project that Blomkamp could develop into a feature length movie if significant interest is shown.
Oats Studios has created a buzz in movie-making circles now, as the experimental collective started by Blomkamp looked to create ideas outside of the Hollywood studio mentality. As a result, it has presented a number of impressive short films to the online community. Both Rakka (Alien invasion of Earth ... but we've got a Sigourney Weaver) and Firebase (a Vietnam war epic with genre elements) have been sci-fi horror offerings with big-screen sensibilities and visuals. Now the 22-minute Zygote is online, but it's not for the faint-hearted.
Available to watch on the Oats Studios channel (via YouTube) and on Steam, the film stars Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds) as Barklay, a lower class employee of Cerberus minerals who runs a mining site in the Arctic circle. Barklay and a blinded Quinn (Jose Pablo Cantillo) are the only people surviving from a 100 man crew. But something is hunting them down relentlessly, and it's the stuff of nightmares.
With the Arctic setting and the pursuits within the cramped mining corridors, the film has already received praise for its atmosphere and effects. It's also attracted the obvious comparisons to The Thing and more specifically Alien. When we spoke to Blomkamp regarding the similarities, he said:
"Not consciously, but probably subconsciously. I think it would be more accurate to draw it to The Thing than Alien. The whole idea of replicants and non-biological synthetic humans is an incredibly intriguing idea to me. And Ridley Scott - he's definitely not unfamiliar with that idea so influences from his films, so you can draw parallels to Barkley [Dakota Fanning's character] that's for sure, but I think that the setup is a little bit more like The Thing where you have isolated people and something slowly attacks."
Unlike the previous shorts from Oats Studios, Zygote genuinely looks and feels like it could be a clip taken from a feature-length movie, rather than a collection of various prime sequences. Fanning is very effective as prospective action-movie heroine, and the creature is superbly realized and creepy enough to distance itself from other Thing rip-offs. Blomkamp even finds time for a significant plot twist and a nail-biting sequence at the end. The filmmaker recently asked his audience to support the venture and help him choose his next film. On the evidence of this short, Zygote is a prime example of something that could translate into a great film on the big screen. See what you think. We'll keep you updated with any further developments from Oats Studios.
Source: Oats Studios