“Now before I kill you both, I’m going to tell you my plans for the human race.”
Justin’s rating: If I cloned this review, could you tell?
Justin’s review: The bizarre rise of amateur James Nguyen to fame came with the cult success of the so-bad-it’s-good Birdemic in 2010. It’s hard to deliberately make something so awful, and so the search began to look through this filmmaker’s back catalogue to see if he had any other “gems” lurking in there. And lo and behold, in 2005 he made a $7,000 scifi thriller known as Replica that was so bad that even Nguyen didn’t want to release it at the time. But then Birdemic was a hit and he figured, eh, why not if they want to pay me for it.
While there are no killer birds in Replica, I’m delighted to report that there’s still a treasure trove of atrocious filmmaking and wooden acting to behold. This is a movie where 80% of the “sets” are green screen, first takes are the only takes (line flubs and all), a house bird squawks loudly into every scene, the driveway of James Nguyen’s home will be shown (oh yes it will be), where the camera doesn’t always focus on who’s talking, and where there are extensive scenes of cars driving and parking and pulling out of parking spaces.
You may be more interested in the plot developing, but this movie argues that shots of careful driving offer even greater thrills.
Replica recounts the near-future tale of Joe, a tech salesman who develops a creepy crush on his doctor after getting some revolutionary surgery — with nanobots! Joe and Dr. Evelyn put us through a romance that is so stilted, so not-authentic that I’m genuinely worried that their real families were being held in an undisclosed location at gunpoint until the actors delivered their scenes. If you can watch Joe awkwardly talk about having a “heart transplant” with Evelyn without wincing your way into a migraine, you are a better person then me.
But because this is a ham-handed tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, twists must happen. Evelyn is killed in an unconvincing car crash! But she’s got a clone with a tramp stamp! Joe falls in love with the clone! And there’s an evil doctor doing cloning experiments! I mean, you’re kind of hoping that the plot would advance beyond the terrible romance, but you’ll soon be savagely punished for your impudence.
Clearly, the only reason that you’d search out and watch Replica is because you are a pathetic individual who delights in masochistic self-torture. It’s stunning how poorly made this film is, but that’s what makes it funny to some of us. If that’s you, sicko, then welcome home. There’s a bird here waiting to shriek into your ear.