This was actually supposed to be a big-screen film released by Universal, until it was pulled and dropped on Netflix as Universal decided to focus on Warcraft. They said that Spectral didn’t have enough mass-market appeal, and I’ll agree with that. But even smaller movies can be good, so as soon as it was released, I grabbed it and finally sat down to see if it was any good. So let’s review Spectral.
When it turns out that some special high-tech military goggles can see what appears to be ghosts on the battlefield in a mythical European nation, inventor Clyne is called in to investigate the mystery, but ends up getting sucked into the adventure as he and a black ops team are trapped behind enemy lines with swarms of ghosts chasing after them. It’s up to Clyne and his team to figure out how to kill the seemingly already dead before they destroy the world.
I will be honest, this movie had a feeling like a Syfy movie and that’s usually not a good thing. I didn’t expect anything high-budget, even if this was theater bound, but it just felt like a lot of lazy writing, and that’s really the case because most of the story was just lifted from other, better movies. Take Aliens. There’s a lot here that is directly “borrowed” from that film. Take a bunch of faceless soldiers, slaughter them until you have a core group of characters, throw in a little girl survivor and a race to get to safety and you’ve got this movie. Unfortunately, that’s what the movie feels like, bits and pieces picked up here and there, from movies we’ve already seen, without much new added. Oh no, ghosts are attacking! Didn’t we see that in that Final Fantasy CGI movie many years ago?
Even though they tried to Krazy Glue a pseudo-scientific explanation to the ghosts in the end, it really makes no sense. The brains of dead people were somehow controlling these fully bodied specters for some reason that was never really explained. Why did these dead people want to kill all of the living people? Revenge? Against people who didn’t even know what had happened? Sure, tell us another one. And Clyne was little more than a video game character who kept upgrading people’s weapons in a really ridiculous manner. Sure, let’s just redefine the nature of military weaponry overnight!
I mean, it’s not horrible, it’s just dumb. The effects are good, having been done by WETA, but the plot is really very simplistic and stolen and if you’re looking for anything but technobabble here, you’re going to be disappointed. It might be a worthy film for wasting 107 minutes of your life on, but not really much more than that.