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by Leigh Whannell

On the long list of things that I enjoy lie technology, futurism, and AI. Also on that list are those three aforementioned things gone horribly wrong. Leigh Whannell, whom everyone knows I am a big fan of, delivered a little gem called Upgrade that I absolutely did not think would be as good as it was.

The story’s protagonist, Grey, stick out in this futuristic society like a sore thumb. He hates technology, works on classic cars, and mainly keeps to himself. One night, after delivering a restored vehicle to self-made tech billionaire, Eron, Grey and his wife, Asha, fall victim to a group of criminals after they hack into Asha’s car. The tragic incident leaves Asha dead and Grey paralyzed from the neck down. Soon after, Eron visits Grey and offers him the chance to return to his old life with an experimental computer chip called STEM. Grey refuses initially, despising technology and the thought of having a computer in his head, but after some time, agrees.

After STEM has been implanted in Grey’s head and his life sort of returns to normal, he realizes the computer can actually help him hunt down the men responsible for his wife’s death and this sets off a bloody, violent, action-packed chain of events.

Upgrade isn’t for one second boring and even has some comedic elements sprinkled throughout, as any Whannell film would. The fight scenes are expertly choreographed, the story isn’t as predictable as one might think, and the acting never disappointed. The entire film reminded me of the series Black Mirror, especially the ending, which was probably my favorite part. There was an almost bitter-sweetness to the film that I also found to be reminiscent of Repo Men.

If you’re anything like me and you find yourself enjoying the darker side of technology and even darker endings, definitely check out Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade. I don’t think too many people will be disappointed.

Stevie Kopas, HMS

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