Holiday Cheer & Fear in ‘Await Further Instructions’

by Christian Ramos on October 26, 2018

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Minor Rock Fist Up] 

Readers, it’s been a while since I last wrote a review and I’m happy to be back and happy the first movie out was a decent one that set the mood for the next three three months full of holiday fear and cheer!

Imagine if you will, how crazy your family can get during the holidays. Now, take that image and lock you and yours in a house with an outside force preventing you from doing anything and slowly driving each person mad. It’s not snow outside but something more sinister in Await Further Instructions, a new horror science-fiction family drama from director Johnny Kevorkian. We are in this new age of science fiction and with the rise in popularity of the Netflix series Black Mirror, there seems to be more quality thrillers coming out that send shivers up your spine. This is one of them.

The Milgram family; father Tony (Grant Masters), mom Beth (Abigail Cruttenden), grandad (David Bradley of Harry Potter fame), daughter Kate (Holly Weston) and her husband Scott (Kris Saddler) and son Nick (Sam Gittins) and girlfriend Annji (Neerja Naik) all come together for the holidays for the first time in years. The family takes a mild distaste to Annji, who is a doctor, and there is even more hostility between father and son who haven’t spoken to one another in what seems like years. This is the Christmas season and the spirit of the season nevertheless brings everybody together for the better.

When the family awakens the next morning however, they discover that something blocks their way out of the house. Much like wires, it’s a tough exterior that prevents them from even being able to look outside. To make matters (much) worse, the television appears to only have instructions written on it to “await further instructions.” Slowly, the family becomes afraid of what could possibly be happening outside. Is it a terrorist attack or something even worse? Soon, packages are sent down the chimney with care, quarantines are issued in the house, the television’s messages change at every instant, and the family becomes more paranoid of each other. If this doesn’t sound like my family at the holidays!

Back to comparing this to Black Mirror, it is almost like another hour-and-a-half-long Christmas special. The “black mirror” in question is the television set and much to the dismay of the family, the staunch father obeys the television’s every word even if it means putting the family’s lives in danger. The good qualities of this movie outweigh the bad. The paranoia the sweeps that through the house is stressful to watch, but works since you learn what is happening to the family as they do. Horror films sometimes deal with domestic family dramas and this is a good case of it, as it is often family vs. family. The lesser qualities in this are the runtime. I would have been happy with a little more than an hour-long movie, and it could have stuck the landing of the finale more forcefully, but it’s still satisfying.

Overall, Await Further Instructions is something people need these days –  a holiday film that’s more sinister than holly jolly. There aren’t too many of them made these days, but what they’re actually something worthwhile, it’s always good to take a look (and lurk) around the sinister doings of the outside world.

Await Further Instructions is available to buy or rent and on VOD now.

Christian Ramos is a recent graduate of KU with a B.A. in Film & Media Studies. When he’s not watching movies, he likes to brag about the pointless Oscar trivia he knows, remembers that time he dressed as Steven Spielberg for Halloween and shows off his tweet that Julianne Moore liked.

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