Neill Blomkamp’s dark and gritty sci-fi brand is back, this time in the form of a short film from his mysterious and experimental Oats Studio that was released online for free on Wednesday.
Rakka—directed and co-written by Blomkamp—stars Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver, and Eugene Khumbanyiwa, who had previously starred in Blomkamp’s District 9. The 21-minute short film, which is broken up into three parts, takes place in Texas in the year 2020 in a world that has been ravaged by reptilian aliens with telepathic powers—the Klum—who have destroyed the planets resources, killed off most of the human race like vermin, and enslaved the survivors, using them as surrogate incubators for the alien young and conducting experiments on them. Weaver, in true badass form, plays Jasper, the leader of the ever-dwindling human resistance.
The film is as grimy and gritty as you’d expect a short film from the director of District 9 to be—and perhaps a salve for those still pining over Blomkamp’s failed attempt to collaborate with Weaver on a new Alien movie. It’s also as unhinged and brilliantly unconcerned with mass appeal as you’d expect an independently created sci-fi film to be. At just over 20 minutes, Rakka is a great piece of efficient storytelling, and it leaves us with a cliffhanger and a number of unanswered questions, opening a door for future installments.
Of course, this was the point of the film in the first place. Rakka is the first film released by Blomkamp’s Oats Studio, and Blomkamp’s intention is for the film to get enough buzz and motivate enough people to donate to his studio that they can eventually make more installments in Rakka’s world. For now, according to Den of Geek, more experimental sci-fi films (and some short comedy sketches, apparently) will be released under Oats Studio over the next couple of weeks.