Film Review: ‘The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One’

Shane Abbess' familiar but diverting indie sci-fi action-adventure details the intergalactic consequences of corporate malfeasance.

Shane Abbess
Kellan Lutz, Daniel MacPherson, Isabel Lucas, Luke Ford, Temuera Morrison, Rachel Griffiths, Teagan Croft.

1 hour, 39 minutes

Despite its strenuously portentous title, which some might mistake for a herald of wink-wink satire, “The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One” is a straight-faced and serviceable sci-fi action-adventure set on a distant planet where corporate overloads exploit hard-bitten convicts as slave laborers for colonization efforts — and human guinea pigs for bioengineering experiments.

From her vantage point in a floating headquarters high above the wild world, Exor company executive General Lynex (Rachel Griffiths) appraises the progress of settlement construction — and encourages the mad-scientist activities of Warden Mordain (Temuera Morrison), who’s been charged with transforming part of his prison’s population into monsters programmed “to kill or assimilate indigenous species.” Evidently, Exor plays by the same rule book as the Umbrella Corp. in the “Resident Evil” franchise and Weyland-Yutani in the “Alien” movies.

When things go wrong, as they always do in pulpy scenarios such as this one, and the monsters are inadvertently freed during a prison riot to devour (and/or transform) any human in their path, General Lynex begins a 24-hour countdown for a devastating nuclear blast that will destroy any evidence of corporate misbehavior.

Popular on Variety

This does not sit well at all with Lt. Kane Sommerville (Daniel MacPherson), a fallen-from-grace war hero turned military contractor who took the Bring Your Daughter to Work program a tad too far, and had Indi (Teagan Croft), his 11-year-old child, come along for a visit to the place where dad claims to be “building an entirely new world from the ground up.” Trouble is, Indi is down below on the about-to-be-nuked planet, forcing Kane to attempt an unauthorized rescue flight from the floating Exor headquarters.

Working from a script he cobbled together with Brian Cachia, who composed the relentlessly emphatic musical score, director Shane Abbess somehow manages to maintain an acceptably brisk pace even while time-tripping between individually titled “chapters” in the narrative. (A not entirely unexpected reveal in one of the later chapters cleverly lays the groundwork for what can only be described as a fairy-tale twist.)

“The Osiris Child” borrows freely from several well-known dystopian sci-fi dramas, and cribs a thing or two from lesser-known ones as well. (Hardcore genre fans, take heart: Someone besides you actually remembers 1977’s “Damnation Alley.”) But most of the recycled bits and pieces are the right bits and pieces to recycle, and the production values — including Steve Anderson’s CGI creatures, and Carl Robertson’s inventive lensing of Australia locations that double for the “entirely new world” — indicate the filmmakers made the absolute most of a limited indie budget.

In addition to the first-rate contributions of McPherson and Croft, there’s a solid performance by Kellan Lutz as a prison escapee who joins forces with Sommerville, and some amusing scenery-chewing by Isabel Lucas and Luke Ford as a pervy pair of reprobates who join the rescue mission for fun and profit. Morrison and Griffiths have relatively little screen time, but that’s all they really need. It is meant as the highest praise to say both actors make you believe unquestioningly that their characters really, really enjoy their dirty work.

Film Review: 'The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One'

Reviewed online, Houston, Oct. 4, 2017

Production: An RJ Entertainment release of a Storm Alley Entertainment, Eclectik Vision production, in association with Phonetic Images. Producers: Matthew Graham, Brett Thornquest, Sidonie Abbene, Shane Abbess. Executive producer: Steven Matusko. CREW: Director: Shane Abbess. Screenplay: Abbess, Brian Cachia. Camera (color): Carl Robertson. Editor: Adrian Rostirolla. Music: Brian Cachia.

With: Kellan Lutz, Daniel MacPherson, Isabel Lucas, Luke Ford, Temuera Morrison, Rachel Griffiths, Teagan Croft.

More Film

  • Promising Young Woman

    'Promising Young Woman': Film Review

    Given that the entertainment industry is pretty much the center of the #MeToo universe in terms of generating its most public effects — and, needless to say, causes — probably no Sundance film this year will be as hot a conversation topic as “Promising Young Woman.” Emerald Fennell’s first directorial feature is a female revenge [...]

  • Little Women Movie

    'Little Women,' 'Fleabag' Win USC Scripter Awards

    Greta Gerwig’s script for “Little Women” has won the USC Libraries Scripter Award for best movie adaptation and “Fleabag” has taken the television award. The winners were announced Saturday night at USC’s Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library. “Little Women” topped “Dark Waters,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” and “The Two Popes.” All but environmental drama [...]

  • Four Good Days

    'Four Good Days': Film Review

    Addiction, you could say (and I would), has become the central demon that plagues Americans. We’re addicted to everything: alcohol, illegal drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, psychotropic drugs, sugar-bomb soft drinks, processed food, video screens…you name it. In theory, addiction was made for drama, because it rips up the fabric of people’s lives, and that’s intensely dramatic. [...]

  • Netflix backed animated films “Klaus,” left,

    'Klaus,' 'I Lost My Body' Top 47th Annie Awards as Netflix Dominates

    Netflix dominated the 47th Annie Awards on Saturday, Jan. 25, picking up 19 trophies, including the top prizes of best feature (“Klaus”), best feature-independent (“I Lost My Body”), best TV/media production for preschool children (“Ask the Storybots”) and best general audience TV/media production (“BoJack Horseman”). Disney TV Animation’s “Disney Mickey Mouse” won best TV/media production [...]

  • Disney Myth A Frozen Tale

    ‘Frozen 2’-Inspired VR Film ‘Myth’ Creates Beautifully Immersive ‘Fairy Tale Within a Fairy Tale’

    With “Myth: A Frozen Tale,” Disney Animation has crafted a visually stunning virtual-reality short film — a project that flexes its VR muscles but deftly uses the technology in service of storytelling. Sometimes VR experiences feel like proof-of-concepts straining to justify their 3D settings. “Myth,” by contrast, employs virtual reality so effectively it feels like [...]

  • 'Dick Johnson is Dead' Review: Kirsten

    'Dick Johnson is Dead': Film Review

    Death isn’t wasted on the dead, exactly, but much that follows in its black-veiled wake is: A heartfelt eulogy, after all, is often composed of warm words we should have shared with the deceased before they turned cold. Eighties soft-rock band Mike and the Mechanics had a #1 hit with this very observation, of course: [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content