Movie Reviews 147 – Artifacts (2007)

ArtifactsAs the extra features on the Artifacts DVD (titled Artefacts in some regions) explains, this movie was conceived one early January afternoon with the intent of being a Cannes film festival submission for March of that year. The problem was that there was no script, no funding, no one signed on to do anything and not even an idea for a story. Nothing! In that short time, a story was hashed out, producers signed on, a crew was scrounged up, the parts cast, and the whole thing was filmed in 12 days with modest budget of $100K.

The good part is that given all these constraints and barriers, a pretty neat little feature was created. The bad part is that seeing the end results we can also see that this was a rushed project and could have used a bit more time with the script and fleshing out of the story.

It’s all about a group of five friends, who, one after the other, are confronted by their doppelgangers that come out of nowhere and try to kill them. Kate (Mary Stockley) is the first that manages to escape and begins putting together some of the pieces and then tries to contact her ex boyfriend Michael to warn him. But this is where things get really weird. Aside from the whole question of the unexplainable doubles, the couple discover that they have no real memory of their friends ever first meeting or being able to recall the times they themselves were photographed in pictures. They have no real memory of a prior life and yet they seem to know certain things. Even the doubles seem to share certain memories of their counterparts but not all. The group have an ‘artifact’ embedded in their bodies and the doubles are trying to get at these artifacts for some strange reason. The doubles can also disappear in a flash of bright light.

In the end, it is all explained away as some experiment but the explanation of what the reasons or goals were all about is left completely out of the picture and seems more like some metaphorical statement that the viewer is supposed to figure out. There are plot holes aplenty even setting aside those parts that are never explained.

To say the ending was unsatisfying is an understatement. In the end we still have no idea what the hell those artifacts were, why the doubles wanted them, who or what were the doubles, what the experiment was all about or whether the group were even normal humans all along. Worse yet, there are hints that this was some experiment that went far beyond just this particular group of five people.

The ultimate frustration comes from the fact that plot aside, this movie had a great cast, was shot beautifully and managed to build suspense. However the whole point of building suspense is that you eventually get a conclusion, satisfying or not. In this case, nothing is resolved. I really can’t recommend Artifacts to anyone unless they are actually looking for a huge disappointment which would be about as logical as this script.


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