PATINA *** USA 2019 Dir: Alan Maxson. 11 mins
Writer-director Alan Maxson also takes the lead role in this engaging, creepy technophobic sci-fi horror short. Matt Kelly has just accrued a humanoid robot named Patina (“Pat for short”) who “lives to serve”, is constructed around an advanced A.I. system and cannot be rebooted. His girlfriend (Annabel Barrett) is quickly creeped out by its weird grin and is terrorised while Kelly is at work. Maxon’s portrait of the besuited, Cenobite-esque Patina is impressive (among other things, the actor did the performance capture work for King Ghidorah in the recent GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS) and it’s a well-made, gripping film – if a little short on surprises. The punchline offers a cute variation on the classic TWILIGHT ZONE “to serve man” pun / twist. In an obvious but amusing touch, the girlfriend character is named after one of the most unsettling of our real-life 21st century A.I. creations, Alexa. We’d take Patina over her, any day.
Review by Steven West