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Y2K: Shutdown Detected   A-

Black Russian Films

Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directors: John Gonzales, Trent Shumway, Slava Siderman
Writer: John Gonzales
Cast: Jason Fenton, Ellen Horn, Leonard Clifton, Kat Kuckens, Katrina Elias, Laura Satterfield, Stacy Seale, Armando Landaverde, Sasha Luderer, Terri Wright, Melyssa Flanery, Jill Berstein.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

Y2K: Shutdown Detected is a 20-minute short film that shows off the truly impressive talents of directors John Gonzales, Trent Shumway, and Slava Siderman. It was originally intended to be a feature-length movie, but due to budgetary constraints they decided to turn it into a short. As a short film, it's a bit too frantic and busy -- but it's a thrilling and highly entertaining ride nonetheless. It was shot on 16mm with a $2100 budget -- and as a showcase for what these filmmakers are capable of, it's close to stunning.

On New Year's Eve 1999, Kirkland Industries -- a biotech lab specializing in DNA and cloning research -- is struggling to solve the Y2K bug problem in their computer systems. They've hired a renegade hacker (Jason Fenton) to fix the problem, hopefully before the clock strikes midnight. Just minutes before the witching hour, they think they've succeeded. Midnight rolls around and everything seems fine. For about a minute, that is.

The computer system initiates a lock down, trapping everyone inside the building. Somehow the system creates an unstoppable and constantly evolving creature bent on destroying everything in it path. It starts out as a huge mass of black slime -- which chases a guy through a parking garage and devours the poor sap. The creature then gets ahold of another guy and uses this body as a host, so that now it's an ugly zombie-like monster (very good makeup effects). Yes, this is a monster movie in the best way -- it's fun, bloody, stylish, and fast-paced (well, it is only 20 minutes).

With such a short running time, character development takes a back seat to plot and action, but it's so well-made and entertaining that it doesn't matter. The music is really effective and enhances the mood perfectly. The digital effects (lots of CGI here) are excellent, and the acting is damn good for movie of its budget.

Y2K is overflowing with energy and style. The camerawork and direction reminded me at times of the work of Robert Rodriguez and Sam Raimi. The impressive editing keeps things fast and furious, assuring that you won't be bored even for a second. There are moments here that will make your jaw drop. It's that impressive.

After it was over, I just sat there in stunned silence. Wow. I only wonder what these filmmakers could do with an actual budget -- I sure as hell would pay to see it.

Review published 04.28.2000.

Follow Michael Scrutchin on Twitter or Letterboxd.

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