From Study Sessions to a Battle for Survival: When Academics Meet the Drive to Survive
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 10m
Director(s): Luke Momo
Writer(s): Davis Browne, Luke Momo
Cast: Caroline Potter Shriver, Marcus Fahey, Kate Pittard, Davis Browne, David Dotterer, Ben Strate
Where To Watch: on demand March 31, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: CAPSULES is a powerful film that drops viewers into the lives of four chemistry students whose lives are forever changed by addiction after experimenting with a new “life-altering” substance. To stay alive, they must keep consuming the newly designed drug.
The narrative revolves around some students as they’re stuck in a cycle of never-ending study sessions as they prepare for a relentless series of exams. Their methods of staying alert no longer provide the focus they desperately need, prompting them to seek a more robust alternative. Fate leads them to an unconscious man clutching a vial of the “magical” pills. On a whim (life lesson here, kids), one takes the drug, thinking it might enhance their high. However, he later discovers their dangerously addictive nature. Learning quickly that the outcome could be lethal if they stop.
Though CAPSULES presents a fascinating concept and effectively delivers a thrilling experience, it needs help to reach its full potential. While it's impossible for the film to rely solely on fantastic effects, CAPSULES provides a captivating viewing experience that surprises the audience. Ashley K Thomas (Good Time) creates a world in which we see the impact of the titular “capsules” through more of a real-world experience. This innovative choice gives viewers far more engagement than you would traditionally see in a film like this, underscoring the superiority of practical effects over their computer-generated counterparts.
Although Luke Momo's directorial debut succeeds in many aspects, it leaves viewers yearning for more. The film's character development could improve; the lack of emotional connection to some characters leaves you with little impact on their ultimate fates. A longer runtime could have also been a profound help with character development and diving deeper into the story of what happened with this drug and how it all came to be. I’ve seen others commenting on the score, and I have to agree as well; I could feel the intent, but it was so aggressive that it overshadowed any real impact.
The film's admirable production quality and noteworthy performances by most cast deserve praise; as always, there will be room for improvement, but you could still see what the film wanted to be. That leaves me looking forward to their next production!
Please don’t take my words as unfavorable; this review focused on the few things I saw that prevented the film from being a five-star journey. Remember that my rating scale differs slightly from a traditional five-star system, as seen on Letterboxd and Instagram.
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[film courtesy of CRANKED UP]