Zygote – Oats Studios: Volume 1 – Review

Here we are again with another brand new short film from Oats Studios and boy howdy do they keep bringing us weird, horrifying, nightmare fuel! First we got the most brutal alien invasion ever, then we got The River God ripping up the jungles of Vietnam, and this time we have a giant ball of human parts chasing after people in some sort of facility up in the Great White North? Well alright, here we go!

If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, please do because I will be going into full spoiler territory but be warned this short is just as horrifying as the others and VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!

I think that I like this one the least out of the three shorts Oats has put out so far but don’t take that the wrong way.  Saying this is my least favorite Oats short is kind of like ranking my favorite Doctors from Doctor Who, I love them all dearly, there’s just one or two things that puts one on the bottom when compared to the others. This short has a lot of good things going for it, a claustrophobic set, a truly horrifying creature straight out of John Carpenter’s nightmares, and a decent couple of protagonists.  Zygote pulls a lot of elements from some great science fiction – A strange creature that grows and learns by absorbing it’s surroundings (The Thing) chases our female hero through an industrial setting (Alien) and there’s a question of whether or not our hero is a human or some sort of synthetic being (Blade Runner).  Those are three amazing films to pull from, but does Zygote rise above simply being the sum of those parts?  Somewhat….

Between this one and the other two Oats Studios shorts that we’ve gotten (Rakka and Firebase), I think this is the only one that could have been helped by a little bit more character development. I really felt like there could have been more time spent exploring the idea that, in a future where synthetic humans are grown to be disposable workers, some unscrupulous companies simply buy orphans and raise them as if they were synthetics to begin with.  That’s a fascinating idea and could be played for some amazing character development but in this short it just kind of goes nowhere.

As for the origin of the monster, I do wish we had gotten some inter-cut flashbacks to it’s inception rather than just having it described to us by Quinn (Jose Pablo Cantillo).  Seeing this giant ball of mashed together hands and legs and feet and eyes (oh God the eyes) is absolutely horrifying on its own but I think seeing the origin of that would have just enhanced the terror.  Although, with that being said, I do understand that this is a short film and time and budgetary constraints definitely play a factor in writing decisions. I feel like this short had a lot of great pieces that fell just short of coming together as a whole.

The acting here is pretty solid as well as both Dakota Fanning and Cantillo turn in great performances.  Cantillo does a fantastic job of acting without being able to see and truly came across as a leader and someone absolutely willing to sacrifice himself to save someone else.  Fanning is also really believable here although her character doesn’t have a whole lot to do other than run away from the monster and carry Cantillo’s character along with her.

What about you, where does Zygote stack up against the other Oats Studios shorts for you?  Is this one your favorite, or least favorite?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Until next time, Thank You for reading and…