An interesting sense of style carries the weight of this sci-fi adjacent trip.

Synopsis: After experimenting with mysterious substances, four chem students find themselves addicted in the worst way possible: they’ll die unless they take more.

Capsules follows a group of chemistry students who regularly use their chemical know-how to utilise a variety of drugs. Allowing them to party and study late, the group are caught in a cycle of dependency and increasingly bad decisions. Their desire to unearth new sensations means that when they find a mysterious vial of drugs they think nothing of popping the pills. Unfortunately, these new drug effects are more unpredictable than any of their previous experimentations.

There is a message about addiction and dependency within the narrative with one notable quote being that ‘one is too many and a thousand never enough’. It is this thread that secures the uneasy paranoia of the film’s strongest moments and sets the overall tension of the group’s relationship. That we meet them at a point where they are deep into the cycle allows them to be presented as flawed, but still human, a challenge the performers meet well enough. As a group, they are consumed by their drugged hazes, but still cling to nostalgia, declaring the 1960s a better time for drug-taking. Throughout, these are characters longing for a different life, yet unable to break from their current patterns. Beyond the sci-fi concepts, it is this that leaves the scariest impression.

At the outset, the dialogue feels slightly stilted as performers settle into their roles. The film requires you to buy into the concept that the group would be cavalier about their drug choices, rather than selective (especially given they could conceivably gain access to other drugs) and that initial awkwardness hangs over some of the runtime. As this settles and the drug’s effects take over this feels less of a concern. A slightly too intrusive soundtrack also creates some early discomfort.

The stylistic choices within the film are of note, especially when the film is working as a chamber piece featuring the group in the apartment. Upside-down camera shots, altering the perspective of the viewer along with the characters adds a much-needed immersive quality. Even when the action ventures outside the apartment there is a distinctly closed, claustrophobic feel, throwing them into unnaturally lit spaces that allow the richness of colours to take precedence. The early panic of the apartment is never quite matched by these scenes and there is a sense that a shorter film focused solely on the action within those walls could arguably be a more potent, thrilling experience.

In addition to the camera work, the title cards that appear throughout the film add to the feel of an experiment, counting down doses, timings and other information that echoes the way the characters work through their predicament. The throwback feel of the cards also speaks to the nostalgia the characters hold so dear, lending a cohesion between the surface presentation and deeper themes.

At only 70 minutes long, there are still moments where Capsules seems to lose run out of steam, but the compelling visuals and technical elements sustain interest more than they lose it.

3.5 out of 5 stars

3.5 out of 5 stars

Capsules is released through Cranked Up Films.


The Sci-Fi-London Film Festival kicks off tomorrow for eight days of exciting sci-fi film and related experiences (May 15th-22nd). The event promises a range of films, filmmaker networking sessions, VR experiences and even a dog cosplay event!

The event is showcasing a range of films, including shorts, documentaries as well as several Sci-Fi films with a horror or experimental edge, so there is bound to be something for everyone.

The festival opens with the UK premiere of Perfect, promising some outstanding and shocking scenes.

Synopsis: A film that sends us tripping into a Science fiction world like no other. It is unclear if the young man (Garrett Wareing) has committed the horrible crime, but his mother (Abbie Cornish) sends him to a luxurious retreat full of beautiful hedonistic people for therapy. He will receive an experimental treatment to cure his ills and discover his true self. His mother has been there, but does she want to help him become ‘perfect’?

The closing film on May 22nd is the World Premiere of The Rizen: Possession, featuring a number of actors who might normally be associated with comedy (namely Sally Phillips and Adrian Edmonson) taking a more sinister turn, although not leaving their wit behind entirely. The sequel to The Rizen looks to be a suitably crowd-pleasing festival finish.

Synopsis: In 1955, NATO and the Allied Forces conducted secret, occult experiments in a bid to win the Arms Race. They succeeded, but what they unleashed almost tore our world apart and sent a human through a portal to somewhere very alien. This was the story of THE RIZEN, our closing night premiere in 2017. Come forward to now, and a group of urban explorers is exploring the abandoned bunker. But will they and a private military unit sent in after them, become the final pieces in a 60-year plan to reopen a door that should have stayed closed.

If watching films isn’t for you, then definitely check out Hackstock. While it is a free event, you’ll need to register in advance to receive your entry password. The organisers are promising that attendees will be “tripping out on mixed reality, holograms, mind control and more…”

The standout attraction for me has to be SCI-FIDO – a cosplay competition for dogs, hosted by the wonderful Bunny Galore in aid of charity All Dogs Matter. Owners will have their dog photographed for free by Dogstar Photo with the winning entry getting to take home a goodie bag and the professional photo of their dog. I so wish I could make it to this!

Stay tuned for Scared Sheepless reviews of:

After the Lethargy on 17th May after it shows on 16th May at 6.20pm at the Prince Charles Cinema


Shed of the Dead on 17th May before it premieres on 18th May at 9pm at the Stratford Picturehouse (with a Q&A)

Find out more about Sci-Fi-London at their website where you can still buy tickets to join the fun to see some new, emerging Sci-Fi and take part in some excellent extra events too.