Your first look at Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios has arrived via a monster-ridden teaser trailer. The District 9 director announced the project back in April, asking his followers on Twitter if they’d be willing to buy “experimental short films” on digital video game retailer Steam as “tests for potential full feature films.” Then, earlier this month, he resurfaced to seemingly confirm that he was moving forward, writing that he was “trying ideas out” and “hoping people get behind [them].”
That the studio will be monster-focused doesn’t come as a surprise. Blomkamp’s best known efforts are all set amidst science fiction dystopias in which aliens and robots often play large roles, from Chappie‘s armour-plated attack androids to District 9‘s sickly extraterrestrials. In fact, for a time, he was was even expected to helm Alien 5, though Alien: Covenant director Ridley Scott recently said that a script was never even written.
The Oats Studios’ “Volume 1” trailer, then, should be familiar fare for Blomkamp’s fans. The video opens with a shot of an overgrown Eiffel Tower, as a narrator explains that mankind has been overtaken by aliens determined to exterminate them. It then flashes through a number of clips: a woman firing a gun into a red-lit corridor, helicopters whirring overhead, and soldiers fighting through deserts, jungles, and snowy tundras with vicious, lizard-like creatures just behind them. “The new world altered everyone. Adapt or die. Simple as that,” the narrator ends. A title card reads simply that Oats Volume 1 will be “streaming soon.”
Though the concept of aliens seizing earth and killing off humankind isn’t entirely fresh, Blomkamp frequently backs his stories with socially conscious themes, and already, Volume 1 looks more like a fully realized, big-budget flick than the short films Blomkamp previously touted. But while the director earned acclaim for his feature-length efforts, he got his start with shorter projects like Alive in Joburg — which became District 9 — Landfall, a short Halo film, and Yellow, a futuristic mockumentary about an Israeli military robot gone rogue.
Suffice it to say that thus far, Oats Studios output seems very much in Blomkamp’s wheelhouse, though it may be something new for those unfamiliar with his earlier work. It’s unclear what Blomkamp plans to do with the films after their release, but in an era where internet memes can become real movies, social media has proven an invaluable tool for getting direct fan feedback. Done well, Oats Studios could become a goldmine for road-testing material.