Fans open to no-budget sci-fi should check out Hover, a surprisingly effective techno-thriller that predicts a future where terminally ill farmers look to Transitions — a company that performs assisted suicides for the physically infirm — to help them escape the hard financial times caused by a perfect storm of global warming, population growth, and poor healthcare.
Well-meaning Transitions caregiver Claudia (Cleopatra Coleman) sincerely tries to help her clients die with dignity, but she soon becomes entangled in a predictable (for viewers, at least) conspiracy involving evil eco-corporation Vastgrow and the flying drones that it sells to farmers for security and crop-tending purposes. Director Matt Osterman’s sensitive emphasis on pregnant pauses and ambient background noise ensures that Claudia’s world often seems convincing in spite of Hover’s tackier elements, especially its contrived plot and cheap-looking computer graphics.
Osterman also commendably highlights the defiant look in the eyes of actors Rhoda Griffis (as Vastgrow president Anna Cook) and Leo Fitzpatrick (Claudia’s Nice Guy boss, Jason) whenever their characters apologize and/or rationalize their apparently malicious decisions to the suspicious Claudia, who becomes something of an audience surrogate.
Hover may sometimes be unbelievably generic, but Osterman, adapting Coleman’s clever scenario, nails a universal power dynamic. Bureaucrats are terrifying because they are smart enough to defend their most inhuman actions with self-serving lines like, “Look at it from our perspective” (Anna’s words) or, “I’m a victim, too” (in Jason’s eyes), if you, like Claudia, ever dare to question their authority over you.
Directed by Matt Osterman
Opens June 29, Cinema Village
Available on demand
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