Dan Stevens was once best known for playing the dashing Matthew Crawley in the popular English period drama Downton Abbey. But Stevens got himself killed off that show and has spent the last couple of years remaking himself as a versatile leading man who is equally comfortable in period-fantasy guise, modern-dress and especially science-fiction-tinged action.
Fans of sci-fi television are now familiar with Stevens from his work as the tortured mutant David on the visually mind-blowing FX series Legion. Stevens will appear in another intriguing sci-fi action project this summer, the disaster flick Kill Switch.
In Kill Switch, from Saban Films (via Movieclips Trailers), an experiment intended to create unlimited energy using the power of other dimensions goes disastrously wrong. Now pilot and physicist Will Porter (Stevens) must save everyone from the inter-dimensional terrors that have unwittingly been unleashed. The first teaser for Kill Switch sets up the action, which sounds echoes of everything from video games like Half-Life and Portal to 2016’s first-person action flick Hardcore Henry to Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.
Kill Switch is the brain-child of Danish director Tim Smit, a former physicist and special effects supervisor now making his feature film directorial debut. Smit first experimented with first-person filmmaking in his ambitious and visually impressive short What’s in the Box?, and in fact Kill Switch is an expansion of that first effort.
First-person elements have been incorporated into action movies many times with varying levels of success. Normally the techniques are employed as part of a found-footage approach, as with the horror film The Blair Witch Project, the disaster movie Cloverfield and the superhero film Chronicle. Occasionally a video-game-inspired movie like 2005’s Doom will work first-person elements into an otherwise conventional action narrative in an attempt to spice things up. The 2016 film Hardcore Henry took the first-person-action approach all the way and though critics were impressed by the film’s technical achievement, American audiences mostly didn’t seem to care for it.
If Hardcore Henry demonstrated anything, it’s that going all-first-person is a risky move that could alienate viewers. Kill Switch appears to mix first-person with more conventional scenes, but how exactly the two approaches are melded together is something we’ll have to wait to find out. In addition to Dan Stevens, Kill Switch also stars Charity Wakefield, Berenice Marlohe and Tygo Gernandt.
The film is set to be released on Ultra VOD on May 19, 2017 before hitting select theaters and regular VOD on June 16.