When it originally premiered at Fantasia I was very anxious to check out Johnny Kevorkian’s science fiction horror film, and I’m glad I was finally able to view it. “Await Further Instructions” is one of those horror tales in the vein of “They Live” or “V” where it’s a tale about humanity, civilization, and way we can be led like sheep in the face of chaos. While “Await Further Instructions” is a very sharply written and vicious look at a dysfunctional family stuck together in a house, it packs in so many more relevant overtones that ring true in a day where everything on the internet is taken as gospel.
Set on Christmas night, Nick visits his family with his girlfriend Annji, a Muslim woman who sparks almost immediate displeasure from his brood. While his mother is happy to see him, Nick’s father greets him coldly, as well as his grumpy grand father, his overly jealous pregnant sister, and her subservient husband. When the family awaken one morning to find their house covered in black solid slime, they’re confused about what to do next, until the words “Await Further Instructions” shows up on their television. As paranoia and hysteria begin turning them on one another the mystery outside takes a backseat to the chaos inside.
Director Johnny Kevorkian banks a lot on the series of despicable characters he introduces during the course of the narrative, and Nick’s situation becomes much more about surviving his family than whatever is lurking outside the doors. Much of the mystery of what’s covering the house amounts to some very intriguing guess work, and director Kevorkian is very good about keeping us in the dark. It’s shocking how easily things within this family unit flips on a dime, as they begin to claw at one another the more the paranoia spreads among them. The primary villains in “Await Further Instructions” are Nick’s father and sister, both of whom seem to have a sheer hatred toward him for reasons never quite expanded upon.
The antagonist is the television which ends up becoming the catalyst for so much cringe inducing violence and self-sabotage. The cast delivers excellent performances including Grant Masters who is delightfully despicable as the slimy patriarch of the family who seems to derive pleasure from inflicting pain at every turn. While “Await Further Instructions” is a great science fiction horror film with a ton of memorable scenes of carnage, it’s also a very welcome and intelligent commentary on government propaganda. Kevorkian’s film is a scathing indictment on governments leading us down the path to destruction thanks to misinformation and our willingness to accept it without question.
Kevorkian turns the television in to a menacing monolith to deception and ponders on how easy it is to lead humanity around by a leash on the vague idea that they may be saved. Although “Await Further Instructions” is fiction first and foremost, it’s quite the brilliant testimony to how fear, chaos and hope for self preservation can be volatile tools of manipulation. We’re never quite sure what it is that’s taken over Earth, but once we glimpse at the final scene, it’s horrifying how easily and quickly it might just have been to destroy the world based around our unquestioned trust of certain forms of media and technology.
Featured in the Blu-Ray are a series of interviews with the cast and crew including co-stars Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Grant Masters, and David Bradley respectively, along with actors Abigail Cruttenden, Kris Saddler, and Holly Weston. Also screenwriter Gavin Williams and director Johnny Kevorkian are included in the interviews. Each interview manages to bring some interesting insight in to how these characters were brought to life on screen, and what the performers brought to the roles individually. Finally, we get a storyboard gallery, a collection of concept art, and the film’s original trailer.