Yesterday I saw Drones as part of the extremely low key Sci-Fi London Film Festival, an enjoyable film at a poorly organised event. Drones was written by relative newcomers Ben Blacker and Ben Acker and was directed by Amber Benson and Adam Busch (or more recognisably Tara and Warren from Buffy). This review may contain spoilers, depending on how strict you are.
The film is an office based comedy following a week in the life of Brian (Jonathan Woodward) who discovers that his best friend (Samm Levine) and love interest (Angela Bettis) are not from this planet. As Sci-Fi goes Drones is incredibly low-key with almost all of the extra-terrestrial goings on being covered in conversation rather than in actions; the threat of the world being destroyed is evidenced solely by dialogue. This was good in a sense as the film would be made completely unbelievable by cheap CGI, but at times the film, and characters, seemed almost unaffected by the alien element to the plot.
As far as the acting goes this was a case of TV guys making good on the big screen, as Woodward led an ensemble of vaguely familiar faces with impressive confidence, outshining the possibly more recognisable Levine. Amber Benson also really impressed; co-directing with Busch for the first time, she shows great improvement in her direction with a style completely removed from her debut Chance which suffered too much from an amateurish appearance. While I love any film that utilises long, single takes it does leave little room for editing which Drones may have benefited from to pick up the dragging pace.
The weakest link in Drones was the music, both not-as-clever-as-planned original songs and the slightly off-putting score. During one early scene funny dialogue between Woodward and Levine was ruined by music trying too hard to emphasise the kooky nature of what was being discussed; what Desperate Housewives has made a fine art was not quite achieved here.
Despite a slightly weak ending, bad music and slow pace Drones ultimately impressed me and far exceeded my low expectations. Benson and Busch are a promising directing duo and have put together a funny, enjoyable film with flaws.
Drones is coming to a cinema near you probably never but will be on DVD at some point… we’ll let you know when.