Starring Jason Turner, Rachel Stefursky, Randy Campbell, James Michael Shoberg
Directed by John Hale
As someone who grow up on the works of Ray Harryhausen and John Carpenter’s The Thing, it always warms my heart when a practical FX monster movie comes along. Which was one of the reasons why I enjoyed director John Hale’s The Conduit as much as I did. The creatures in the twenty six minute short, which included everything from a vicious eel-like monstrosity with rows of jagged teeth to a giant stomping monstrosity the size of an office block, were all cable controlled puppets and animatronics, as opposed to computer-generated creations, and the result was a glorious reminder of the days when filmmakers actually had to use their imaginations in order to bring otherworldly creatures to life, instead of just pressing buttons on a computer.
However, the plot of The Conduit was about as simple as they come: a guy named Andrew (Jason Turner) conducts sleep experiments which somehow open a portal to another dimension, which puts himself and everybody else in grave danger. We don’t know much about the nature if his experiments or how exactly he was able to cause the portal to open, and more explanation would have been nice, but I’m willing to let the lack of detail slide when the film has an animatronic fish monster. John DeSentis’ eerie retro-inspired soundtrack, which sounded like the sort of thing an insomniac would probably listen to, is also worthy of praise.
Before the stuff with the monsters kicks in, however, there was a prolonged scene in a convenience store where Andrew was buying a ton of caffeine in order to stay awake and had an encounter with a homeless man who may not be as senile as he seems. The sound mixing in this scene was a little weird, as the music was so loud that the dialogue was a little hard to hear. Aside from this scene, however, the rest of the sound in the film was perfectly fine.
Whilst it was a little light on plot, anyone with a fondness for old school monster movies should have a good time with The Conduit. And let’s face it, everyone loves old school movies, so everyone should enjoy The Conduit.
Whilst it’s a little light on plot, The Conduit is still a satisfying throwback to the monster movies of yesteryear.