The third 20-minute short film from Neill Blomkamp’s new production company Oats Studio is the most thrilling and gruesome one yet. Dakota Fanning stars as Barkley, a lowly employee of an Arctic mining site who must find a way into the private bunkers of the company’s now-dead leaders in order to survive. Barkley and a blind Jose Pablo Cantillo are the only two left alive at the mining camp, and with a surreal monster hunting them, it doesn’t seem as if they’ll last long. Able to consume and use the organs of humans it kills, the behemoth monster is genuinely horrifying.
Set in the tight corridors of an Arctic mining operation, the short film has been compared to The Thing and Aline while garnering praise for its polished special effects. Blomkamp told ScreenRant that “the whole idea of replicants and non-biological synthetic humans is an incredibly intriguing idea to me.” And according to a Verge interview, the idea for Zygote came to Blomkamp rather simply as “a monster made out of men.” Fanning as Barkley delivers a spot-on performance that lets viewers believe in a character beyond the 22-minute run time. The plot twists and ample amount of background revealed throughout make the short feel part of a full-length film.
The filmmaker recently asked his audience to help pick his next independent film project, and Zygote already feels like the best option out of the three shorts released, the other two being Firebase and Rakka, both worth a watch. Zygote can be watched for free above, but those who want to support the film and Oats Studios can buy the DLC and other assets here.