Into The Uncanny Valley Image

Hana and Aleksi not working from the jump make it harder to truly invest in and understand her dramatic change after Hana begins taking Vitalalol. But, around the halfway point, as it appears that not only is Hana now heartless but also addicted to the drugs, Into The Uncanny Valley finally entirely pulls audiences into its realm. Partially this is thanks to the co-directors, writer Werner and Carlos Montaner, use of tone. They strike the right balance of strange originality and unsympathetic characters. See, despite the issues that could be solved by adding just a few brief minutes to the opening, the directors get the audience to feel for them.

That is because they hone in on the demure, too-pleasing Hana, and effectively contrasts that with her losing humanity. Montaner and Werner understand that there is little as horrifying as watching someone’s humanity wither away before one’s eyes. They exploit this in several intense and harrowing moments, where the fate of both characters is not easily discerned.

“…there is little as horrifying as watching someone’s humanity wither away…”

Also helping Into The Uncanny Valley achieve its modest goals are the two main actors. As the timid Hana, Kimberly Alexander is fantastic. Her turn from quiet to confident to sadistic is perfectly played, and she never loses the audience’s empathy, despite her actions later on. At first, Mattsson seems to be a bit over-the-top and one-note, but as the cruelty from his wife builds, and he loses the power he so desperately craves, he reveals hidden depths that make the audience come around to his character.

Into The Uncanny Valley needs to be a bit longer to truly be a slam dunk. Not understanding Hana and Aeksi’s relationship at the start means certain scenes don’t make sense and don’t have the intended impact. The sparse production value means the short is not all that engaging visually from scene to scene. But the fake medicine’s commercial is fun, and the oppressive atmosphere works for the story at hand. Plus, the two leads work wonderfully, and as the film progresses, it slowly becomes more and more engrossing. Is it perfect? No, but it is original and interesting, and therefore worth watching.

Into The Uncanny Valley (2020)

Directed: Liz Fania Werner, Carlos Montaner

Written: Liz Fania Werner

Starring: Kimberly Alexander, Mikael Mattsson, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Into The Uncanny Valley Image

"…they strike the right balance of strange originality and unsympathetic characters."

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