Drones – Review

Yesterday I saw Drones as part of the extremely low key Sci-Fi London Film Festival, an enjoyable film at a poorly organised event. Drones was written by relative newcomers Ben Blacker and Ben Acker and was directed by Amber Benson and Adam Busch (or more recognisably Tara and Warren from Buffy). This review may contain spoilers, depending on how strict you are.

The film is an office based comedy following a week in the life of Brian (Jonathan Woodward) who discovers that his best friend (Samm Levine) and love interest (Angela Bettis) are not from this planet. As Sci-Fi goes Drones is incredibly low-key with almost all of the extra-terrestrial goings on being covered in conversation rather than in actions; the threat of the world being destroyed is evidenced solely by dialogue. This was good in a sense as the film would be made completely unbelievable by cheap CGI, but at times the film, and characters, seemed almost unaffected by the alien element to the plot.

As far as the acting goes this was a case of TV guys making good on the big screen, as Woodward led an ensemble of vaguely familiar faces with impressive confidence, outshining the possibly more recognisable Levine. Amber Benson also really impressed; co-directing with Busch for the first time, she shows great improvement in her direction with a style completely removed from her debut Chance which suffered too much from an amateurish appearance. While I love any film that utilises long, single takes it does leave little room for editing which Drones may have benefited from to pick up the dragging pace.

The weakest link in Drones was the music, both not-as-clever-as-planned original songs and the slightly off-putting score. During one early scene funny dialogue between Woodward and Levine was ruined by music trying too hard to emphasise the kooky nature of what was being discussed; what Desperate Housewives has made a fine art was not quite achieved here.

Despite a slightly weak ending, bad music and slow pace Drones ultimately impressed me and far exceeded my low expectations. Benson and Busch are a promising directing duo and have put together a funny, enjoyable film with flaws.

Drones is coming to a cinema near you probably never but will be on DVD at some point… we’ll let you know when.

5 thoughts on “Drones – Review

  1. I am so very glad you enjoyed this more than you thought. It would seem I was the only person anticipating good things so I’m glad I was right! I didn’t want to get the blame for organising an excursion to see rubbish.


  2. Hi
    I am the festival director for SCI-FI-LONDON film festival. Glad the film was enjoyed but dismayed to see a comment about a poorly organised event.

    I would welcome feedback on what we need to improve, we spend months in fund-raising, finding and selecting films, negotiating deals, getting invites out, planning the venue space and working with sponsors on freebies and venue dressing. With 54 shows crammed into 5 days, something can go wrong and we try very hard to make the festival welcoming, accessible and offering a varied programme.

    So, please do let me know what you felt let us down?


  3. Louis, the main problem we had was with our tickets. We were overcharged, not given the seats we initially asked for and then given seats which were double booked. A major problem when those who want to sit in your seat arrive after the film has started.


  4. Hi

    Apologies for that. It was because we moved it to a bigger screen. It would have been in the small screen and that had only 80 seats in it, we felt it better to move it. The box office system crashed the simple move across (that normally happens) and also reset to the normal post-6pm ticket price.

    We will keep on that for next festival. Whilst I understand the frustration with things like this happening, we felt it better to put the movie on the largest screen as we knew we had the lead actor coming.



  5. Thanks again for getting back to me about the price problems initially, Louis, and for putting me in touch with Ian. We got most of the money refunded on the day though only £24 (they comped 2 of the £12 tickets) instead of £28 (overcharged by £4 on 7 tickets) which I decided was better than nothing!

    If I was to make a suggestion for the future it would be that if possible if you’re moving the film to a different screen, people who have already booked are contacted about the change? I was emailed my booking confirmation so it’s obviously in the system somewhere.

    I understand that limitations in the booking system may mean that individually re-selecting seats could be more difficult than it sounds, but I found out about the screen change by chance and Ian was unable to tell me where the new seats were until I collected the tickets. The option to cancel our tickets and rebook in the original manner (selecting seats) would be a bonus here. A partially sighted friend of ours had chosen her seat quite carefully, which was then moved. When she arrived she was unable to change seats, as the film was sold out.

    Of course all of that aside, we were very glad to have Jonathan there. Seeing Mr Woodward is always a guaranteed way to brighten my weekend!


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