Nekrotronic (2018)

Howard has a rather miserable life working in the family’s sewer maintenance company. He does not know that he is a descendant of a veritable line of Nekromancers, an ancient guild of wizards who are hunting demons that hide in the bodies of humans. One of them, the demon-witch Finnegan, craves for world domination, and has devised a way to turn people into demons via a game on their cell phones. Howard’s calling accidentally gets revealed when he gets zapped by his friend Rangi’s phone who is playing Finnegan’s game. He gets attacked by demons, but is saved in time by the last surviving Nekromancers, the sisters Molly and Torquel. Relentlessly chased by Finnegan’s minions, our heroes must infiltrate the mainframe of Finnegan’s server to foil her plan, and to destroy her and her legion of fiends.

Nektrotronic was directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, who received some attention among genre fans with Wyrmwood, which was a fresh take on the zombie movie genre. In his second movie, we get treated with demons from cyberspace instead of zombies, and instead of blood and gore we get an overdose of neon lights (and still plenty of blood).

The premise of a techno-satanic witch manipulating people into collecting souls with their cellphones is a original reference to the Pokemon-Go hype that was in full rage a few years ago. The only other movie that elaborated on the dangers of cell phone hacking by supernatural powers was the bizarre Stephen-King adapation “Cell”, so Nektrotronic get’s the credit for expanding that list.

Nektrotronic cheerfully pillages its way through 35 years of genre movies, most notably Ghostbusters. Throw in Blade-Runner neon optics on steroids, and demons that wandered over from the Evil Dead sets, and we get a ridiculous mash-up of genre tropes, that are presented at super-charged speed. On top of that, we get plenty of cheesy humor and stylish shootouts. Occasionally a joke fails, and some of the action scenes are surprisingly generic, considering the overall craziness that this movie is.

Nekrotronic is buzzing with what I would call techno-wizardry, such as the liquid pool that serves as a 3D printer for demons to manifest them in physical form (so that they can be shot to pieces right afterwards), and which can also be used to reconstruct people’s body, provided their soul is still stored in digital form.

The plot is held together by a series of coincidences, that provide the justification for the next outburst of violence. Things are moving so fast, though, that there is not much time to reflect on any of it. The acting is in line with the overall hysterical tone of the movie, with Monica Bellucci leading the pack. Maybe she thought it was time again for campy role in a campy movie, as it’s been more than 20 years since her last one in Dobermann. And she’s playing it in overdrive mode, even though she gets allocated relatively little screen time.

Nekrotronic offers a sparkling and violent ride through an interesting setting. It’s a funny and cool movie that sometimes tries too hard to be funny and cool. The multiple references to other movie classics are woven together skillfully, and invoke a juvenile charm that will satisfy whoever can get their mind in the right place for it.