Nebulous Dark starts with an opening that is essentially a checklist of science-fiction tropes. An asteroid, a plague, and toxic fallout are just a few of the things mentioned in the opening moments. Before anything has even begun, the film has dug itself into a hole. The premise may not be the most original, but there is the potential for fun. Nebulous Dark is about a man stuck in a time loop – yes, that is part of the plot also. He wakes up to an Earth on the verge of an apocalypse and occupied by new tenants.
Nebulous Dark has the potential to tell a strong character driven science fiction story. Instead, writer-director Shahin Sean Solimon decides to go all in on the more action oriented part of the plot. A sci-fi adventure that is more about what is going on than the people it is happening to can be fine. It just never quite comes together in Nebulous Dark. The decision to rely so heavily on special effects was not the best idea considering the budget, but this is an indie film. Low budget effects are to be expected.
The bigger problem with Nebulous Dark is in its storytelling. The dystopian world does not open up in front of the audience; it constantly throws new ideas at them. (“New” meaning rehashed.) It is unapologetically confusing. Include some generic dialogue, and the film comes of as more of a school project than a movie on Amazon Prime. Many people will have many questions by the time the final credits begin rolling.
The film’s saving grace is the obvious passion. It may not be the most original or best looking, but Nebulous Dark is one of the most genuine productions of the year. It will only appeal to sci-fi fans – and even then, it will find difficulty – but it is a refreshing change from soulless big budget blockbusters. There is a love for the craft that just does not come through in cinema often.
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