Shane Ryan might not be a name you recognize yet, but he has appeared in several low budget movies like Jurassic City and Samurai Cop 2. If intentional camp isn’t your thing, no worries, as Ryan is the director of 50+ short and feature-length movies covering a wide array of genres from sci-fi to horror to mystery to drama. If Guerrilla, the only Ryan directed movie I have seen to date, is any indication, he has a huge, incredibly rewarding career ahead of him.
Guerrilla starts off in the summer of 1989. Four friends go roller skating, play pinball, and hang out as often as possible. Then a deadly virus begins to infect everyone, causing zombie-esque flesh eating. It is presumably airborne, as most survivors have taken to wearing gas masks. Most, but not all, as one of the four unnamed friends, played by Mars Mohamed, is naturally immune. Armed with a samurai sword and a Power Glove (which I think can now electrocute people), he fights any of the infected he comes across.
“Armed with a samurai sword…he fights any of the infected he comes across.”
The movie has zero dialogue, as everything is told to the audience via strong imagery and the soundtrack. It is never confusing, excluding the electrified Power Glove thing, and thanks to Ryan’s spectacular cinematography, is a visual triumph on every level. The transitions from the typical summer to the outbreak and so on, juxtapose idyllic ‘80s life with bombs going off and lots of impressive gore effects. The synth-heavy score is catchy, adding momentum to the dynamic way the story is being told.
While all the actors do well, it is Mohamed’s expressive face that anchors the humanity in the movie. He is very engaging and likable, again, all without dialogue. His training montage is a lot of fun, and the physicality of the role is handled well by the young, amateur thespian.
Guerrilla is stylish as heck, pushing the notion of a visual medium to a glorious extreme. The story has something to say, the talent to pull it off, and the audience will be left floored and speechless, in the absolute best way possible.
Guerrilla (2017) Directed by Shane Ryan. Written by Shane Ryan. Starring Mars Mohamed, Kendall Morris, Delaiah Hastie, Lyddie Ward, and Riley Yargus. Guerrilla screened at the Romford Film Festival’s retrospective of director Shane Ryan.