What if virtual reality were the only reality for society’s outcasts who need a way of expressing their darker impulses—to the point that it produces VR junkies? That’s the central conceit of Uncanny Valley, a short science fiction film produced by 3dar.
Written and directed by Federico Heller, the highly stylized film looks gorgeous and features strong performances, but it’s problematic on a few levels. First of all, it’s not about the technological theory of the “uncanny valley” at all, which is the sense of revulsion or terror that a person would feel in encountering a convincing computer-generated or artificially intelligence humanoid presence.
And, [SPOILER ALERT], while the plot twist is rather unexpected, that the VR addicts are being used to kill enemies that look a lot like Western civilizations enemies in the Middle East, the moralizing is still a bit over the top. It basically takes the argument volleyed at RPG video games, that they allow players to act out their dark, violent impulses, and applies it to the technology of virtual reality.
All in all, it’s a bit like Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 or Elysium (which surely inspired Uncanny Valley). It’s better than most of Hollywood’s attempts at science fiction, but still lacking true genius.
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