Blu-ray Review: AUTOMATION

AUTOMATION was directed by Garo Setian from a screenplay he co-wrote with Matthew L. Schaffer and Rolfe Kanefsky and stars Elissa Dowling, Sadie Katz, Parry Shen, Graham Skipper, Sarah French, Jeff Rector, Anahit Setian, Marv Blauvelt, Josh Fallon, Tara Cardinal, Jeff J. Knight and Jim Tasker.

A workplace robot, AUTO, transforms into a killing machine when he discovers he will be replaced by a more efficient model. AUTO fears being terminated and will stop at nothing to prevent his own destruction. The human employees must band together to stop him before it’s too late.

The story for this sci-fi thriller with a dark sense of humor takes place a typical workplace environment and centers around AUTO, a prototype robot that ends up getting hit upside the head one too many times by Devin (Graham Skipper), a disgruntled employee who wants revenge for the robot taking the his job. The pop on the tin can’s head is also what slowly turns it into a killing machine. The robot also kind of gets disgruntled after it finds out that it’s being replaced by a new model. AUTO gets its revenge on Devin and begins to turn on other employees like Linda (Sarah French) who’s been nice to it.

The story also focuses on Jenny (Elissa Dowling) who’s actually AUTO’s only friend at work but after it malfunctions their friendship becomes extremely uncomfortable and even toxic. The unhinged robot continues to kill people at work while Jenny is running for her life and trying to come up with a plan to stop its path of destruction. In the end, Jenny gets a little help from her boss Susan (Sadie Katz) and the two of them ultimately go on the offensive against the killer robot with a malfunctioning crush.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I had a blast watching Automation that follows a long line of creepy robot movies like Chopping Mall, Saturn 3 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s also hints of Chappie, Real Steel, ex machina and even Short Curcuit in it. I liked the interesting story and thought the cast did a really good job with their characters plus it’s great to see Elissa Dowling take the lead because she’s usually in supporting roles but here she gets to show off her acting skills and does a fantastic job. The movie also features quite a few familiar faces from the indie horror scene like Sarah French, Parry Shen, Sadie Katz and Graham Skipper. I liked the minimalist design of the robot that’s simply a man in a suit, but make no mistake about it, AUTO is as interesting and eerie as it gets. The relationship between this robot and the main character is what drives Automation and makes it such an entertaining watch. Garo Setian is an editor by trade who decided to direct Automation and I thought he did a great job with it and hope he gets to helm more projects in the future. It’s an ambitious low budget sci-fi creeper with a dark sense of humor and it’s definitely worth checking out. Hey, it also takes place at Christmas so it’s the perfect time of year to give it a watch. Automation is now available on Blu-ray

Distributor: Epic Pictures Group and DREAD

Run Time: 91 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English 5.1 Surround Sound and English Stereo

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include some audio commentary, deleted scenes, alternate scenes, bloopers, behind-the-scenes featurettes, interviews with some of the cast and crew and the official trailer.

  • Commentary with Producer / Writer / Director Garo Setian and Writer Rolfe Kanefsky
  • Commentary with Producer / Writer / Director Garo Setian, Producer Anahit Setian and Producer Dan Bowen
  • Deleted Scenes – Play with optional commentary
  • Alternate Scenes – Play with optional commentary
  • Bloopers
  • Behind The Scenes Featurettes
  1. Writing The Screenplay
  2. Building “Auto” with “Evil’ Ted
  3. “Auto’s Voice” An Interview With VO Artist Jim Tasker
  • Bonus Interviews
  1. Garo Setian – Producer / Writer/Director
  2. Anahit Setian – Producer/ “Marci”
  3. “Evil” Ted Smith – Producer / Creator of “Auto”
  4. Esther Goodstein – Producer
  5. Sarah French – “Linda”
  6. Rolfe Kanefsky – Writer
  7. Matthew L. Schaffer – Writer
  8. Joel Christian Goffin – Composer
  • Trailer – 120 sec ​
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