Movies

Movie Review: Domain

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As a sci-fi fan, I enjoy discovering little known sci-fi treasures on the streaming corners of the world.  “Domain” is such a find.  Nothing as trippy like “Predestination,” but intriguing enough as far as mystery sci-fi thriller goes.  

The movie starts with an exposition; a deadly virus has wiped out most of humanity.  The air is toxic and 500,000 remaining survivors, selected via lottery, are leaving  in government-built underground bunkers, 30 feet underground.  The bunkers have been built to last for 70 years, equipped with capabilities to recycle fresh air and water and waste, supplies of dried food, and sleep cycle to mimic natural light and nighttime.  Once the virus runs out its course and the air is safe again, the survivors will be notified and released.  

Within the 500,000 survivors, the people are grouped in seven-people network for virtual social interactions, connected through a computer network called Domain.  They can see one another via video and chat as a group or have private chats.  

The story focuses on one seven-people group, who call one another nicknames based on the physical locations of the bunkers they’re in – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Orlando, Phoenix.  Each of them occupies a single room in their bunker.   

After five years of being cooped up and isolated, two people have formed a virtual romantic relationship.  Their exchanges via the monitor screen are surprisingly believable as a couple, even though they have never met each other.  Another one specifically grates on the others’ nerves, even admitting that he committed a crime before getting underground.  

After the group decides to cut off the obnoxious guy’s feed, courtesy of a hacker in the group, things started to go awry.  They later discover that some of them start disappearing from their locked bunkers one by one, which is impossible, considering they’re deep underground and no one could escape outside due to the hazardous air.  

Dread and panic set off a chain of events and the remaining survivors realize that things are not what they seem.  They’re debating whether or not they should try to find their way out and wonder if it’s even possible, as they don’t know what’s and who’s out there.  

It’s cleverly filmed that you start wondering about possible explanations.  Aliens?  Government experiment?  Supernatural powers?  When the reveal happens, there’s an originality to it that puts a twist on what you thought might have happened.  While the ending ends up being anti-climatic, the penultimate still comes as a shock. 

This high concept, low budget movie manages to create a tense intrigue throughout by moving the story along through the guess-the-mystery, intensive dialogues and claustrophobic single-settings.  

Go stream it for free at tubitv.com!  

Copyright (c) 2022. Nathalia Aryani

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic (rottentomatoes.com/critic/nathalia-aryani). She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

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