I love anthologies, and I love the energy of James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence. So when I heard this filmmaker was entering the chat with a series, I knew it was going to be a moment. Shatter Belt has the DNA of its predecessors (The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, etc.) but is so uniquely its own thing. The team brought episodes 2-4 to SXSW this year. While all three episodes are an exciting jolt to this brand of horror, my favorite is ‘Immotus.’
An Apple A Day…
‘Immotus’ throws us right into a hectic night for an internet startup on the brink of a major deal. An unmovable apple arrives triggering wild reactions from the team and the people watching the event. Part of the reason I love this episode is that it allows Byrkit to showcase what he does best. Taking something small and using it in a way that reflects all of the good and bad, in humanity. When an angry mob runs into the office to cut the apple and give the team a piece of their mind, it’s easy to see similarities to people who run to Twitter just to troll people. Or people that get so caught up in a frenzy that they refuse logic as they grow louder and find other people who want to be as equally strong and wrong.
Byrkit has a knack for taking the ordinary and warping it into something not quite right. He allows characters to go big, knowing that we as a society will always leap to our conclusions. Conclusions that lead to hysteria and behaviors that are often more terrifying than whatever the event is. Another thing Byrkit excels at is giving us massive ideas on a minuscule budget. We’re not going to get lost in big flashy effects or waste moments wondering from the main topic. We are forced to stay with the humanity on display. For good, or bad, our behavior is the focus, and I have yet to see Byrkit lose sight of that in this show or Coherence. The power we let the apple have over us is more interesting than if the apple chased people down in the vein of Attack of The Killer Tomatoes.
‘Immotus’ as an impetus
Many people will probably gravitate toward the episode after this one called ‘The Specimen.’ It’s not a bad episode, and people love Patton Oswalt, but it doesn’t give me the exciting feeling of watching a group of people lose their collective shit over nothing. ‘Immotus’ is a fun, witty, fast-paced romp that lives off the rails. That makes it stand out from the others in this viewing for all the right reasons.
I’m excited to see the complete season and get the whole picture. Part of the fun of anthologies is looking for connective tissue between episodes/seasons and Easter eggs. Because the episodes are about 30 minutes each, I could see it being a nice mind-bending binge one Saturday afternoon. To keep an eye on Shatter Belt check out the website.