A Netflix Original from 2016, Spectral is a sci-fi military action film directed by Nic Mathieu. Its premise is simple, but deadly.
A soldier deployed in Moldova wears special goggles that eventually pick up on a shifty, shadowy being. But before he can take cover, this ghost passes through him, killing the soldier instantly.
Inventor Mark Clyne is brought to the front lines to determine whether that shimmering presence documented by the googles was just interference, a trick of the light, or something more sinister.
The genius of Spectral is in how it lives between genres, as both a science movie and a science-fiction thriller, an action thriller and a gritty military flick, a cautionary tale and a straightforward monster movie.
Though it visually falls in line with other Netflix releases, the ambition behind the ideas it explores, specifically those in line with the “science” side of the film’s science-fiction, actually pays off.
At no point is the technology in Spectral unbelievable. Even when the source of the specters is revealed, their origins feel reasonable within the film’s nightmarish near-future.
“We wanted Spectral to operate on two levels: as an action movie about a unique antagonist that just seems impossible to kill, and as a story about science itself”