9 Shane Acker

Shane Acker’s debut feature is based on his own Oscar-nominated, 11-minute short. As numerological cinephiles are well aware, the new film was released on the ninth day, of the ninth month, in the year 2009. Which is like the Mark of the Beast upside down, or backwards, or something…

But don’t get too excited; it isn’t particularly satanic, although it does feature a malevolent robot whatsit that would make the boys at Survival Research Laboratory proud. A recurring F/X-driven plot-point involves said robot sucking the souls directly out of the good guys with an unnervingly prolonged zap. The victims, numbered one through nine on their backsides, are cute, burlap-baggie beings stitched together from the detritus left behind after the recent apocalypse. But who, the film prompts, did the stitching? Does God still exist?

The new version stays so true to the original you could describe it as a feature-length short—which is not the most staggering accomplishment. The visuals have been expanded and the characters have been given greater depth—and the storyline? Let’s just say it’s a tad wanting in terms of narrative urgency. (The only thing really at stake is reviving life on earth.) In any event, the aesthetic wavelength of producer Tim Burton was clearly in sync with Acker’s. Give these two visionaries a pair of mechanical hands and they’ll give you a fully formed alternate reality.