We were once humanity: Rakka, the first of the short films from Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios

(image via YouTube (c) Oats Studios)


RAKKA is the story of broken humanity following the invasion of a technologically superior alien species. Bleak harrowing and unrelenting, the humans we meet must find enough courage to go on fighting. (official synopsis via Laughing Squid)

There is something deeply, viscerally confronting about Rakka (Japanese 落下 meaning “fall”), the first short film released by Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios.

The first short film release by the master sci-fi storyteller, who masterfully injects social commentary into his taut, artfully-constructed films, is not some sunny, blockbuster-y  take on alien invasion such as Independence Day or War of the Worlds – for all their grimness, there was an overall cartoonishness to the action – but one suffused with bleak, dark despair.

It feels like the aftermath of an alien invasion would feel, ecological and societal devastation rampant, torture, oppression and genocide on the march, instigated by an invasive race that sees humanity as a resource, things on which to experiment and nothing more.

But as people have demonstrated down through the ages, even in the face of the most apocalyptic of scenarios, the will to live, to survive is incredibly strong and so it remains even with an enemy as unceasing, cold and cruel as this one.

With Blomkamp so vividly painting what can only be described as humanity’s darkest day with such fierceness and nightmarish horror, the spirited, desperate fight back looks like the real deal, a genuine titanic David vs Goliath fight against the odds that very few invasion films manage to adequately convey.

It helps that the rebel leader is played by Sigourney Weaver who brings her take-no-prisoners attitude that won her plaudits in the Alien films to Rakka, her every word – the film is relatively dialogue-sparse which only adds to the atmosphere of ruination and dread – making it abundantly clear that if humanity is going down, it won’t be without one hell of a fight.

It is a dramatic, deeply immersive, unnerving, compelling film, the first part of the Oats Studios’ strategy which comes with the aim, notes Collider, “of not only [gauging] interest in these short film stories, but to also serve as a sort of proof-of-concept for feature film ideas that may or may not secure funding and distribution.”

You can currently stream Rakka Volume 1 free on Steam, YouTube and the Oats Studios website … or here!


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