Back in June, Blumhouse Productions released a film titled Upgrade as part of their newly formed Blumhouse Tilt label that specializes in niche genre films, and partnered with the indie label Neon to help make it happen. I didn't know what to expect heading into the theater to watch film, but I left more than pleasantly surprised.
As it stands in the middle of August, Upgrade is currently ranked number two on my top movies for 2018, sitting just behind another low-budget surprise in Unsane. Upgrade was written and directed by Leigh Whannell, better know for writing Saw and the first two Insidious films, and stars Logan Marshall-Green as Grey Trace. Set in the near future, Trace is a man with old school values and likes to get things done with his hands as opposed to taking advantage of the increased technology that has become prevalent in society. The polar opposite of Trace is his wife Asha, played by Melanie Vallejo, who works for a technology company and rides around in a self-driving car. Their lives are turned upside down one night when they are ambushed by a mysterious group of men, with the end result leaving Asha dead and Grey paralyzed from the neck down.
As seen in the trailer (not giving away spoilers) Grey Trace has a highly enhanced computer chip placed into his spine called STEM, that acts as his controller and mental computer, while giving him the ability to walk again (and do much more). Over the course of the film's 100 minute run time, I never found myself bored and I doubt you would either. Upgrade felt like a mixture of The Terminator, Robocop and Death Wish rolled into one package and given a cinematic upgrade, slight pun intended.
Leigh Whannell's writing and directing are top notch and fit the film's tone perfectly, with its creator knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his story from the moment he first put pen to paper. The acting is solid across the board, though Logan Marshall-Green shines in the title role, giving the best performance of his career as of press time. Blumhouse mainstay Betty Gabriel also has a co-starring role as a detective hot on the tail of Trace and his wife's killers, all leading to an exciting climax that leaves the film open to sequels in the future. The idea of a sequel was confirmed after I personally tweeted producer Jason Blum about the idea earlier this month, to which he replied "I have plans for this one. I loved it too."
Reviews for Upgrade have also been positive, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 85 percent, a Metacritic score of 66 percent, an IMDB rating of 7.7 and a Google Users rating of 92 percent. "Upgrade" is currently available on digital platforms, and will be released on Blu-ray on August 22 and is highly recommended.
-ABOUT THE AUTHOR-
Robert Sobel has been a horror, sports, history and movie buff for close to 30 years. He's been a professional news writer for the last seven years, with his work being promoted on various outlets like Yahoo and Google, with celebrities like Cher and Roseanne Barr sharing his content.