Sunday, June 26, 2022

Cryo, a Rude Awakening

Awakening from suspended animation is supposed to introduce you to a brave new world, like it did for Rip Van Winkle, Buck Rodgers, and the main character of Looking Backward (which ironically inspired a lot of backward thinking). Instead, these five experiment subjects are about to be reanimated in a dystopian environment. At least it sure appears to be so. It is a little hard for them to judge, because they all wake experiencing amnesia in Barrett Burgin’s Cryo, which is now playing in Los Angeles.

Nobody knows their names, so they initially call each other by their numbers, 01-05. Then they generally use their apparent functions: “Engineer,” “Doctor,” “Biochemist,” “Soldier” and comms specialist, and “Psychologist.” The Engineer also seems to think there was an “Inventor” involved in the project somehow. Their muscle memory and specialized knowledge kicks in, but they still have no clue who they are or what the general plan might be. However, everyone is suspicious that Soldier’s number was cut from his jump suit.

There also might be someone else running around the underground compound. Nevertheless, they remain below, because they fear the outside air is lethally contaminated—despite Soldier’s lingering doubts.

has the vibe of a lot of post-apocalyptic bunker movies, but in its defense, it has a pretty good twist at the end. Rather, it isn’t so much the twist as insight on human nature that it offers. Unfortunately, it takes forever to get there, especially slogging through the lifeless first act. The whole film should have been snappier and shorter. Clocking in at almost two hours is really pushing it for a film like this.

The entire cast is competent, but they just can’t breathe life into the terminally murky-looking
Cryo. If someone had gone full-on Nic Cage-crazy, it might have livened-up the dreariness, but everyone is too professional for that. Probably Mason D. Davis builds up the biggest head of steam as Soldier, which is appreciated.

You can see Burgin had something there on the page, but it all needed to be tighter and leaner. There is a point to this film, but he should have gotten to it quicker. As a result, it would be hard to recommend it, but there is enough there to make me curious to see Burgin’s next film, in hopes that he can build on it. For those still interested,
Cryo is now playing in LA at the Laemmle Glendale.