RAKKA is the first, highly-anticipated project from director Neill Blomkamp‘s (District 9, Chappie) new production studio/idea incubator Oats Studios.
Co-written by Blomkamp and Thomas Sweterlitsch, RAKKA is set in Texas in the year 2020. The earth has been invaded by sinister reptilian-like extraterrestrials. The bad news: We lost.
The planet is now under full occupation. The aliens have begun destroying earth’s ecology in order to make the planet more habitable for them. The world has become a blasted ruin with humanity on the brink of extinction. The aliens also perform obscene experiments on captive humans such as vivisection, breeding, being used as living incubators, and mind control. It’s not pretty.
A rag-tag resistance — led by military commander Jasper (Sigourney Weaver) — desperately seeks any advantage against the invaders, including working with Nosh (Brandon Auret), an unstable bomb-maker and pyromaniac. However, the key to the resistance’s ultimate success lies with Amir (Eugene Khumbanyiwa), a rare survivor of the alien experimentation.
While alien invasion has been a recurring theme in science fiction since, well, forever, RAKKA stands out due to the distinct vision Blomkamp brings to the genre. Similar to District 9, this short film features a sci-fi setting that is not sleek and pristine in any way. Instead, RAKKA is an extremely dark, disturbing, gritty, gory, and unsanitary spectacle. It is the stuff of nightmares.
It is also completely mesmerizing.
The bleakness works to lend the short film a kind of verisimilitude. If advanced hostile aliens were to invade our world, it would probably look far more like the one RAKKA depicts instead of Independence Day.
In an interview, Blomkamp revealed one of his main motivations for creating Oats Studios: to foster more maverick filmmaking, unfettered by the constraints of commercial productions. If more creative, out-of-the-box genre films like RAKKA are the result, I sincerely hope Oats Studios is a smashing success.
Film reviewer Rod T. Faulkner is the founder of The7thMatrix.com, a website dedicated to promoting the best genre web series and short films. He also is the author of 200 Best Online Sci-Fi Short Films, a compilation of exceptional SF&F short films.