So, to try and explain the story - Howard North is a hapless sewerage worker who finds himself in the shit (literally and figurately). It begins when his co-worker, Rangi (Epine Bob Savea) downloads a new app on his phone that lets him see ghosts. But it does way more than that, as Demon Hunter Luther (David Wenham) explains early on in the film, “...some evil bastard worked out how to blast demons through the internet. Now they can get you through your phone.” And when they get you, your spirit, and the energy that goes with it is sucked through the ether (somehow) and absorbed as food and power by the evil demon Finnegan (Monica Bellucci) who want to control everyone and take over the world. But when Howard finds himself blasted by Rangi’s app, for some reason (that will be revealed later) he ends up in the company of Luther and two other Demon Hunters, Molly (Caroline Ford) and Torquel (Tess Haubrich) and before long, Howard is a Demon Hunter too, on a mission to save the world from Finnegan. When you say it all like that, it all sounds pretty silly but that’s part of what makes this film enjoyable. It’s so silly, that you kind of can’t resist.
The thing that NEKROTRONIC really has going for it is a great central performance from Ben O’Toole as Howard. He spends most of the film vacillating between being bemused and incredulous by the things that are happening to him and the more serious he is about it the funnier it is. He’s well balanced by Savea whose character Rangi (for reasons I won’t spoil) keeps popping up in scenes in the most unexpected ways. His performance is funny and endearing but never overused. Bellucci, on the other hand, plays her demon to the limit and beyond in a style that approaches pantomime. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a good thing, but the bizarre storyline of this film couldn’t work without it.
One of the things that propelled Wyrmwood across the screen was the palpable energy and enthusiasm of director and co-writer Kiah Roache-Turner and his brother, co-writer Tristan. In that case (for me, at least) what was being propelled was so laissez-faire in its structure and intent that it was hard to follow and even harder to enjoy. With NEKROTRONIC, the brothers seem to have a stronger core to their bizarre story and have created characters that, whilst still larger-than-life and over-the-top, have some clearer purpose and substance to them. This time around, their energy and enthusiasm seem infused with a sense of joy and confidence in the work that is infectious. This time around I care... and the investment in their bizarre, chaotic silliness pays off.