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The Osiris Child – film review

June 11, 2017


Ambitious Aussie indie gem raises bar for home-grown sci-fi.

Reviewed on Thursday 18th May 2017

Written & directed by Shane Abbess. Starring: Kellan Lutz, Daniel MacPherson, Isabel Lucas, Luke Ford, Rachel Griffiths and Temuera Morrison. Running time: 95 mins.

A renegade military pilot embarks on a perilous race against time across a distant planet infested with vicious monsters in order to rescue his only daughter before a nuclear meltdown destroys the capital.

Independent Aussie helmer Shane Abbess first burst onto the genre scene with his debut feature Gabriel in 2007 – a calling card which subsequently opened doors for him in LA, where he found himself toiling away for several years in development hell on a slew of big studio projects including a Dark Crystal spin-off and Source Code (a movie ultimately helmed by Duncan Jones). Somewhat disillusioned with the mostly generic material he was being offered during this time, Abbess returned to Australia to make his second feature – the self-generated sci-fi thriller Infini in 2014. Now, three years later, we are presented with Shane’s latest eagerly-anticipated offering.

An action adventure set on a distant planet, The Osiris Child is essentially a sci-fi western road movie which, much like the recent and equally excellent bushranger epic The Legend of Ben Hall, features impressive production values well beyond its limited budget – again demonstrating that one doesn’t necessarily require big studio money in order to create fully-realized and highly-detailed worlds. Utilizing the ‘used universe’ aesthetic made popular in the original Star Wars, the overall look of the flm, as realized by seasoned Aussie production designer George Liddle (Dark City, Day Breakers) is surprisingly homogenous in its mix of design elements seen previously in other flms – the aforementioned Star Wars, along with The Empire Strikes Back and the oft-cited Mad Max series in particular.

The action scenes are well-staged and coherent, while CGI is used sparingly with an emphasis on real locations and practical creature effects lending the flm a sense of realism rarely seen in contemporary sci-f fare. And the cratered vistas of Coober Pedy (an opal mining town in outback South Australia) are beautifully captured by     DP Carl Robertson (Road Kill, Infini).

The film employs a non-linear narrative which is effectively used to reveal aspects of each character’s backstory when necessary – without resorting to actual fashbacks within scenes; potential confusion side-stepped with the use of chapter headings. This non-linear narrative indeed allows for some truly effective character reveals (especially towards the end) – which add greatly to our emotional investment in the piece. The characters themselves are nicely-drawn and appealing, sustaining our interest and engagement in them till the very end.

Performances from the wholly Australian cast are uniformly excellent, with the standouts being Daniel MacPherson in the lead as Lieutenant Sommerville, Temuera Morrison as nefarious jail warden Mourdain and, sporting Texan accents, Isabel Lucas and Luke Ford as luridly-tattooed, gas-inhaling trailer trash. Eleven year old Teagan Croft is also very good in the titular role (her frst big screen appearance). While genre fans may also recognize Bianca Bradey (best known for her break-out role in Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead) in a small cameo.

As of this writing, The Osiris Child has yet to secure a release date in North America. But when it does, I urge all sci-fi fans – particularly those who are fed up with the banality of dumbed-down studio cookie-cutter fare to go check it out. As the full banner title Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris Child implies, it appears this film may well be the frst in a proposed anthology of stand-alone movies. If the quality and passion demonstrated in the making of this film is anything to go by, then I for one hope Volume One is embraced enthusiastically enough to invite the potential for future instalments.

4 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Event Cinemas Marion, Adelaide, May 18th 2017

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-f thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.


From → film reviews

  1. You had me with Dark City, Empire Strikes Back and Mad Max. This sounds right up my alley, I only worry how I’ll ever get to see it here in the UK.

    Great review again Gregg. Your posts are rarer than I’d like but always worthy of a read. Thanks for bringing this film to my attention.

    • gregory moss permalink

      Thanks Ian! Yeah, I’ve been busy of late working on a new script – which has taken a fair amount of time away from writing blog posts. But I’m gonna try and be more consistent. I’m pleased to have alerted you to The Osiris Child. I reckon you’ll really dig it. 🙂

  2. Spanky McDee permalink

    Saw the trailer on Facebook this morning. Luckily enough, it was released on blu-ray today in the UK. Picked it up at lunchtime, looking forward to checking it out.

    • gregory moss permalink

      That’s great! I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

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