By Elias Savada.

If you create a film and title it to suggest it’s the beginning of a series, you better hope that your audience will arrive in quantity and that your product will offer up quality. Tossing in some originality would help, too, rather than using the beg-borrow-and-steal approach for this low-budget effort from Australian director Shane Abbess (Gabriel, Infini). The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One is an adequate retread of tropes found in Avatar and the Alien franchise, offering a futuristic look at an Earthlike planet far, far away being plundered for commercial gain. Bits and pieces (starfighters and a low key cantina) from Star Wars here, a creature that looks plucked from The Fifth Element and grafted on to some wild things from Maurice Sendak over there. The dusty/dirty production design is vaguely reminiscent of any Mad Max film. Mix thoroughly and sprinkle in shopworn clichés, standard-issue stereotypes, and some off-putting narration, and it deflates what could have been a nice sci-fi soufflé. On the plus side, there are some fine visual effects, decent acting, and a (too limited) presence of Rachel Griffiths, as the stone-cold face of Exor, the latest in a string of evil corporations that have (dis)graced cinema’s realm.

The script by Abbess (from a story he concocted with Brian Cachia) is unsettlingly disjointed, broken down into seven uneven chapters that set up various characters along parallel timelines. Rather than intercut the stories and build momentum, the film often rewinds the clock when a new episode title (“The State of Indiana,” “Manifest Destiny,” “The Long Road,” etc.) flashes across the screen. Just because you have a limited budget doesn’t mean you have to frame a film in such an incoherent manner.

These feeble restarts, from the perspective of either of the two adult male protagonists, allow for filling in the backstories of Lt. Kane Sommervile (Daniel MacPherson), a disgraced war hero turned infrastructure officer then turned renegade warrior, who teams up with Sy Lombrok (Kellan Lutz), an escapee from one of the corporation’s soul-robbing, grime-filled prisons. These jails and numerous Exor-operated mines use cheap labor to provide Earth-bound minerals, enriching General Elana Lynex (Griffiths), an ice queen who rules from a clean perch in a spaceship hovering above the planet. Historians might compare this convict labor operation to the 162,000 criminals that were sent to Australia by the British in the 18th and 19th centuries to settle the continent.

Osiris 02There’s a nice, spunky performance by Teagan Croft as Indi, the 11-year-old daughter of Kane, a dad hunk with a bad shoulder and a busted marriage (mom’s back home, on Earth). The initial meet and greet that opens the film plays like a bring-your-daughter-to-work outing, each taking target practice at road signs. Later, when the planet’s entire population is brought into jeopardy by corporate malfeasance, the girl becomes the common cause for both men, an unlikely alliance on a rescue mission.

As with any nasty, greedy corporation, a secret agenda goes madly awry and the cover up is at the expense of the planet’s have nots. The haves also are targeted. As if the lives of the angry prisoners weren’t beaten down enough at the iron hands of sadistic Warden Mourdain (Temeura Morrison), the caged inhabitants at the Ovir Ultramax Prison are also guinea pigs in an ugly genetic experiment. Pushed to their limits, a riot and escape plan is hatched by the convicts. General Lynex uses fake facts to hide the out-of-control situation from her superiors, then starts a countdown clock for Protocol 84, a worldwide doomsday scenario that pushes the rag tag rescue squad of Sy, Kane, and a pair of outlaw step-siblings to do noble and reckless things. A virus is afoot; genocide awaits.

Issues with the film’s continuity issues expose its flaws. The lumbering monsters that waltz about the planet’s countryside infect the humans with a gene-altering fluid that transforms them, all too quickly, into more lumbering monsters. It’s hard to believe these creatures are as quick and cunning as portrayed.

The Osiris Child plays as a derivative space western, with escalating excursions into gunfights that are just video game shoot-em-ups. Despite feeling this movie should work, it doesn’t. It’s a serviceable diversion (which explains a DIRECTV premiere and limited theatrical run day-and-dating with its availability on video on demand), but not a franchise builder.

Elias Savada is a movie copyright researcher, critic, craft beer geek, and avid genealogist based in Bethesda, Maryland. He helps program the Spooky Movie International Movie Film Festival, and previously reviewed for Film Threat and Nitrate Online. He served as an executive producer on the 2015 horror film German Angst, Penny Lane’s award-winning documentary Nuts!, and the forthcoming supernatural thriller Ayla. He co-authored, with David J. Skal, Dark Carnival: the Secret World of Tod Browning (the revised edition will be published in 2017 by Centipede Press).

14 thoughts on “The Saga Doesn’t Begin – The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One

  1. Science fiction volume 1 implies that there is or will be a volume 2. Where’s the sequel?
    Yes, it has a mad max or firefly feel to it and I rather enjoyed that aspect…

    1. me too.. just made it thru pt1 on my hard drive; went all of covid and didn’t watch, but now with writer strike, I hope they are eager to get back to this..

  2. I really liked the way the movie was put together. You weren’t subjected to the boredom of “every man for himself” when things went awry. You stayed with the story when it flashed back so you could learn more about the characters. There weren’t a million humans and a million robots whose characters didn’t really seem to fit in. You weren’t underawed by terrible computer graphics of badly done space ships. Lets face it, no-one has really come up with a new idea for how a space ship looks since George Lucas did it. I don’t think the monsters were over/under done considering they started as human.

    The film critic who wrote this really needs a new day job. Or maybe he forgot his choc top, popcorn and maltesers when he watched the film.

    1. I work for myself, so my boss is not willing to fire me. I will pass your suggestion on to him that I be allowed to get a day Job (which is new to me, as I haven’t had one for 30 years). BTW the Rottentomatoes audience score is a stellar 46%, based on 1,000+ ratings. I’m guessing they all need new day jobs, too. Actually, I would like some clarity on why a new day job is needed? If you think I actually get paid for my reviews (or write them between 9 and 5), you are sadly mistaken.

  3. I just want to say this movie could atleast have some sort of follow up insinuating that there would be confirmation of a follow up. Yes at the end it shows that they leave the planet but a lot of movies with this kind of budget would leave it like this and consider it “the end”. That’s why you add a little more in the end credits. Any how, on the topic of your response to that person, I just want to say you have made my night. This was a good response.

  4. I just saw it, and it was refreshing. I enjoyed the historical psychological perspective of the ftontier- Every man for himself would mean extinction not survival. Good to see a movie get that one right. Every man for himself only works in large urban areas. I for one wish there was a sequel….

  5. Just saw it and liked it, far from being unoriginal in today’s cinematic landscape of remakes, comic hero films and political lecturing. Recycling old ideas has happened since film was created and is fine as long as you use some imagination to do it in a new way and the director successfully did that here. Not a flawless film by a long shot but entertaining escapism, which is more than I can say for the majority of garbage that is rolled out as quality work these days.

  6. I thought it was original and found it different and intriguing. I would love a part 2, if not a movie then released as a book. I enjoyed it although I did find it rather gory.

  7. Wow how ridiculous! Seriously it’s reviews like this that leave me feeling defeated. I had high hopes of getting to see a sequel to this movie. I have a couple of questions for the person who wrote thus review.
    1. Do you realize how hard it is to find a good solid solid science fiction movie these days.
    2. Did you even watch the movie?
    3. Do you even like science fiction.
    If I had to guess, I would say. Whoever wrote this review. Only watch the preview to this movie. I would also guess that whoever was whoever was in charge of marketing this movie this movie. Failed epically. The trailer for this movie did a horrible job of capturing the essence of the film.

  8. It’s ending is refreshing & I love the idea of a loyal creature to a child.. ORIGINAL is fine as I’ve not seen this body type b4 & the loyalty thing is intriguing..
    MAKE THE SEQUEL & ignore the jealous reviewer..it IS a good movie just needed to get started ..which it’s done

  9. I like it. It’s not awesome but it’s good. I hope they do the second chapter or even write the books. I will read it! Need to know what happened to indi… And I hope she kills the general.

  10. I will say this “Never Trust a Movie Critic” just because they didn’t like something doesn’t mean other’s should follow there judgment…
    I really enjoyed it, it was a low budget film but the story was fine and it kinda reminded me of a piece of Jim Hanson’s work shop in it “The Monsters”…
    It would be nice to see a part two, I truly do enjoy when bad people have bad done to them, you can’t say they didn’t have it coming? I’ll say the storyline going back and forth kept me wanting to see the payback moment, I sure hope the little girl and her guardian get the revenge they so do deserve???

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