Nick (Sam Gittins) has the bright idea of bringing his Middle Eastern girlfriend Annji (Neerja Naik) to his parents’ pad for Chrimbo. This goes over like a fart in a submarine for some of his kooky klan, as his father (Grant Masters) is mega-pissed that Nick hasn’t been home in years, and his grandpa Alfred (David Bradley), is a full on racist prick. Things get even more tense once Nick’s pregnant sister and her boyfriend arrive…oh, and when the mega-dysfunctional family soon discovers the house is completely sealed up by a strange obsidian corrugated metal. Isolated from the outside world, they receive messages from their television…which first displays “STAY INDOORS AND AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS”…but before long the messages become increasingly ominous…which causes even more tension in the household. As time passes the family is lead to believe they are contaminated by some mystery disease, which of course increases their paranoia a thousand fold…but things get even worse as the black vomit flows and digits are chopped off. Before long no one can trust anyone else, and it becomes clear that no one may survive the quarantine, or the television’s control!
The first thing that needs be said is Await Further Instructions is a masterpiece of mounting tension. The bickering family is a kettle ready to boil over at the best of times, but when trapped in their home with no real clue as to what is going on things become beyond volatile. Along with that constant anxiety, the fact the film is set almost entirely within the confines of the family’s home there is a palpable sense of claustrophobia and imprisonment (and kudos to the filmmakers for using one of the oldest low-budget tricks in the book, a single location, to such devastating effect). Also the simple plot device of a TV broadcasting such dire messages and commands with simple, cold text is brilliant in it’s simplicity and execution. Additionally, the film’s climax features some truly fantastic practical effects work that would be right at home in the early films of Shinya Tsukamoto. Of course the top shelf acting, cinematography, directing, and screenplay aid and abet the production incredibly as well!
Also worth mentioning are the special features on this Blu-ray release from Dark Sky films. First up you get a multitude of interviews with cast and crew including: Gittins, Naik, Masters, and Bradley (all mentioned above), along with actors Abigail Cruttenden, Kris Saddler, and Holly Weston as well as screenwriter Gavin Williams and director Johnny Kevorkian. These conversations really offer a fantastic amount of detail and insight into how the characters were brought to life, and what the various performers brought to their roles, as well as how the film’s story came to be and it’s themes and how the picture reached production. Following that we get a storyboard gallery, a collection of concept art, and the film’s trailer.
Simply put, you have to slap you putrid peepers on Await Further Instructions; it’s like the gnarliest Twilight Zone episode never created…and perfectly blends familial strife, sci-fi, and full on horror all in equal measure!
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