Set over the course of the Christmas period, Await Further Instructions tells a tale of families at war and their strains that bubble under the surface. Nick (Sam Gittins) is on his way home to his family for the Christmas period. Due to tensions with his father this is his first time back in a number of years and this time he’s bringing his girlfriend Angie. All should be fine except Angie is Asian and most of Nick’s family are semi-closeted racists. Unfortunately for Nick that’s not the worse thing he has to contend with this festive year, as on Christmas Day the family wake-up to discover the house surrounded by some sort of barrier that they cannot penetrate. Their phones aren’t working and the only thing connecting them to the outside world is a television set that keeps giving them instructions. But who, or what, is writing the messages, and can they be trusted?
A lot of low-budget films, especially those withing the horror genre have little choice but to set their stories within one location. Luckily, in this instance, the single setting works brilliantly. Await Further Instructions also features one of the most horrifying of all premises, imagine being trapped in a house with your family for days and days, with no end in sight.
Await Further Instructions plays on the pre-existing tensions that exist within the family and cranks them to maximum. As paranoia and cabin fever set in, the family all turn on one another with poor old mum stuck in the middle. Not all of the family make it through, and those of a sensitive (pregnant) nature may wish to give the film a skip, at least for a few months at least.
In addition to tacking the topics of family relationships, Await Further Instructions also delves into the issues of authority. To be more specific – how and why people adhere to certain authoritarian instructions. Nick’s dad is adamant that the instructions on the television must be obeyed, whereas Nick and Angie aren’t so certain. It’s a nice commentary on how the youth of today is going against the pre-established rules, all because they exist doesn’t make them right. There’s also a nice nod to how television controls us all, and we’ll just do what it says blindly.
As the story progresses it ventures into some distinctly science-fiction territory; we’ll keep exactly how a secret, but trust us it’s good. Practical effects elevate the film, let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than CGI blood etc. The glare from the television screen, blues and greens, give a nice dynamic colour palette to what could have ended up looking like a kitchen sink drama.
A single situation story that explores the horrors of family, conformity and our relationship with technology; go in fresh and enjoy the journey of Await Further Instructions.
Await Further Instructions is available to watch on Netflix UK now.
This review first appeared on THN.