Event 16

Event 16 (2006): New Zealand – directed by Derek Pearson

Not rated by the MPAA – contains some violence and a little sexual content

Event 16 is an odd little film from New Zealand, made with no budget in Wellington.  It’s always good to see new filmmakers get their feet off the ground, as director Derek Pearson does here.  However, some do it better than others, as Peter Jackson proved with Bad Taste and Dead Alive, also made in New Zealand.

Unfortunately, Event 16 isn’t quite as good.  It is an interesting little sci-fi movie with some intriguing themes and made almost entirely with special effects.  There are some actors and locations, but almost everything has had some post-production work done on it.

The effects look great sometimes, especially the backgrounds, and that’s probably the best thing to say about the movie.  Conversely, some of the effects are dreadful, but that’s not necessarily the worst thing about the film.  Almost everything screams low budget, from some of the special effects to the delivery of the lines.

The fact that the film looks like a low-budget endeavor isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means the film should be judged on a different scale.  As a first effort it is quite impressive in a number of ways.  The simple fact that this is a full length feature film is impressive, as is the complex plot (even if it is a bit messy and convoluted).

In Event 16’s universe are some people whose job it is to ensure that certain events take place.  These events range from a wormhole being opened so a criminal can travel back in time, to the criminal killing certain people at certain times.  I was never entirely sure why or what these events mean, if anything, but it is clear that they must occur.

There is a young scientist who has been trying to figure out how he opened a wormhole in his previous research.  He succeeds again (after ignoring his girlfriend and causing relational problems) and finds himself in 1893 Wellington.  Naturally, a criminal hops back through the wormhole and pretty soon everyone is time traveling and going to the future to do certain things and popping on wristbands that make them turn into other people and stuff.

It gets rather confusing, as cops and robbers jump in and out of wormholes all across time.  It does not help to clear up the story when they start morphing into other people, further confounding all of the cops and robbers.  It’s a bit intriguing at times, and being only 72 minutes long it is not hard to sit through the whole film.  Some of the action is well-done, especially for a low budget affair.

The film isn’t quite good enough to recommend to general audiences, even if some of the concepts are interesting.  On the low budget, independent-film scale Event 16 would rate a solid three stars out of four, as it’s an impressive foray into a generally expensive genre.  Those interested in low budget science fiction, or young Kiwi filmmakers, will enjoy the film, but most other audiences should stay away.

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