Robot Buddy Becomes Killer in Stunning Short Film

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Robot Buddy Becomes Killer in Stunning Short Film

The problem with robots is that they can sometimes take you a little too literally.

Oscar nominated short film maker and commercial director Ruairi Robinson's new film, Blinky, provides a chilling look at the danger we put ourselves and our families in when we invite adorable robot buddies into our homes. Sure, they seem harmless enough, but they're just one wrong word away from a killing spree. Of course, in this case it was actually several wrong words, which may have included a command to murder everyone.

The film stars Max Records, who also appeared in Where the Wild Things Are, as Andy Neville, who receives a Blinky robot for Christmas. At first, Andy can barely contain his joy, but before long the novelty wears off and Andy starts to look longingly at more advanced robots. To make matters worse, Andy's parents are arguing a lot, and Blinky -who really just wants to play and be friends - has to bear the brunt of Andy's frustrations.

One rainy afternoon, Andy gives Blinky a set of contradictory commands that he can't possibly follow all at once. The commands cause him to crash, and Andy has to reboot him. Even after the reboot however, he remembers two commands: The first is hide and seek countdown, which started at one million, that Andy used to keep him busy for a long time, and the other is Andy's suggestion that he should kill people. Blinky starts to act strangely, and once the countdown is done - presumably days, weeks, or even months, later - Blinky gets to work on command two.

The film was put together using live action filming, motion capture and computer imagery. It's remarkably well done and Blinky looks like the sort of consumer robot that someone might actually build. There's a lot of little touches that really help the world come alive as well, like the news report about combat robots, or the news report about a recall of Blinky models that Andy ignores with stunningly bad timing. If you've got fifteen minutes to spare and a fondness for adorable, but murderous, robots, it's well worth a watch.

Source: io9

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Wow...That Went from cute to terrifying.

wow really well done

I dunno, I think this would make a good horror movie much better than the crap that's out now.

This is amazing. Good find

Really impressive and I for one would really like to see the feature length movie of this. I imagine AI meets Hand That Rocked the Cradle but better than both.

That was quite scary, the worst of it all were the meatballs.

Great effects and Blinky seems real insomuch as it could maybe one day be a reality.

But the story itself didn't really mesh with me. Ran a bit flat. Thats just my opinion though. Well made short.

Thanks OP for the link.

I saw this earlier today - well done, but the pay-off is weak. Where are the dead parents/dog/etc.? If I invest twelve minutes in a short film about a killer robot, I expect a little more horror and carnage. I mean, it's not like the fact he kills is a surprise to anyone watching the film - the shock needs to be in something else (although, I suppose the quality of the film could be counted as a shock).

*** All that is probably sounding too negative, though. I still liked it. ***

Damn, that was awesome. I completely forgot I have to do laundry...so damn you and thank you, Logan!

I really hate that kid...he was just as annoying in WTWTA too. Geh. Still, awesomely creepy otherwise :3

Mhm.
Impressive but in some scenes it falls short.
For example the kid looks really awkward in the christmas scene. Not really joyfull. But then again the Actors in the Star Wars Prequels hat the same problem with their CGI-Partners.

Best parts are in the details, as you said, like how organic the robot's designs are.
The overall effect, eh, good effort.
The story felt pretty cheesy to me, especially since "ironic following of orders" is already a trope in robot fiction. And while "the meatballs" is pretty terrifying if you think about it, it felt kind of cliched, and intentionally over the top.

So: Too heavy-handed, would have liked to see a slower build. Good effort. Nice visual design.
Score: B-

Damn. Remind me to never get a robot now.

I loved that! That kid deserved it! Go Blinky Go!

craddoke:
I saw this earlier today - well done, but the pay-off is weak. Where are the dead parents/dog/etc.? If I invest twelve minutes in a short film about a killer robot, I expect a little more horror and carnage. I mean, it's not like the fact he kills is a surprise to anyone watching the film - the shock needs to be in something else (although, I suppose the quality of the film could be counted as a shock).

*** All that is probably sounding too negative, though. I still liked it. ***

I agree that the payoff was weak, but with their probably low budget, getting a bunch of gore would be expensive (not to mention messy as hell). Also, it could easily go from creepy to funny if we actually Blinky running around with that grin on his face slicing people up. I think the imagery would've been a little too incongruous to be taken seriously.

Thanks for the great find, Mr. Westbrook.

the kids acting was bad. Other than that good stuff. (although i wouldn't have done the final scene like that. I would have ended on the door shutting myself.

Why isn't he programmed with Asimov's laws?!?! oh of all the humanity why?! XD

note to self: install paradox-absorbing crumple zones on all robots so they don't crash and wake up misinterpreting commands.

The best part: when on the TV behind the kid, it was saying all the things that might cause Blinky to malfunction, basically summing up what he did the past few minutes. Blinky was adorable, even when he was homicidal. The kid did a good job with the whole "contradicting orders" thing. A great job overall.

There's tons of gems in Vimeo. :)

Geez just how much money do people earn in the future? Haveyou seen the price tag to Blinky?
Anyway it's really good and it's pretty much the kid fault for Blinky carnage. I guess he should of gotten counselling for christmas.

Ah my old Rival, Seriously this dude lived an hour down the road, same name apart from the 'b' plus he has his origins in 3D design too.... bah.

Anywho, very intresting short with some fantastic lighting to get the robots to blend well, but there were a few moments the movments where a bit too loose and didnt give a good impression of weight from the Blinky. Saying that i even without the Spoilers in the main text, would have expected the dark twist from Robinson like, kinda why i like his shorts such a grey matter.

Good overall, but still damn popular rival >.<

As somebody above said, it went from cute, to sad, to OH MY JESUS!...

Ok, I might be paraphrasing...

craddoke:
I saw this earlier today - well done, but the pay-off is weak. Where are the dead parents/dog/etc.? If I invest twelve minutes in a short film about a killer robot, I expect a little more horror and carnage. I mean, it's not like the fact he kills is a surprise to anyone watching the film - the shock needs to be in something else (although, I suppose the quality of the film could be counted as a shock).

*** All that is probably sounding too negative, though. I still liked it. ***

I think an increase in 'carnage' or 'gore' horror would have ruined the film.
The idea here, it seems, is that the robot is so clean, and helpful. The horror isn't in how it rips you apart brutally. It's how it does everything so mechanically. So matter of fact...and yet so innocently. I'm actually quite glad they didn't show anyone being killed by it, because quite frankly I'm surprised it could have caught anyone.

But, again, the horror isn't in it's abilities or the gore.
The horror here seems more based on the outcome of the dysfunctional family. I mean, a kid like that could have went and hurt his dog, or another animal, had the robot not been around. The starting of a serial killer. Instead, he took out his frustrations on the robot, causing it to malfunction, and another killer was made.

This is my interpretation, of course, but look at the film's focus: The mother and father presumably got married because they wanted to be together, but ended up fighting and breaking their marriage. The film opens up with the kid seeing something that he really wants, but you see the slow decay of those feelings, and the eventual out-right anger and hatred that boils out of the kid. It's a parallel to what he's seen his whole childhood. It's obvious the kid is damaged by his parents broken relationship, and in turn he damages his robot.

And what is the response? The kid actually shows more maturity then his parents, because he sees that it's time to let it go. That it's broken. But his parents are saying 'hes just making excuses because he wants a new one'. Can anyone else see the parallels to that and the parents marriage? They stay together despite it being obvious they the relationship is broken. And what is the result? Death. Had the robot not been there, it would have been a slow, internal death. A wasting of both husband and wife (And child) to their own dysfunction. But, with the robot, it turned into a literal, physical death.

Both are pretty horrible.

But maybe that's me. I'm probably over-analyzing it, but that's what I saw anyways.
It's a great short piece.
I think any longer and it would have worn thin, and if it was shorter it wouldn't have had the same impact.

Nooners:

craddoke:
I saw this earlier today - well done, but the pay-off is weak. Where are the dead parents/dog/etc.? If I invest twelve minutes in a short film about a killer robot, I expect a little more horror and carnage. I mean, it's not like the fact he kills is a surprise to anyone watching the film - the shock needs to be in something else (although, I suppose the quality of the film could be counted as a shock).

*** All that is probably sounding too negative, though. I still liked it. ***

I agree that the payoff was weak, but with their probably low budget, getting a bunch of gore would be expensive (not to mention messy as hell). Also, it could easily go from creepy to funny if we actually Blinky running around with that grin on his face slicing people up. I think the imagery would've been a little too incongruous to be taken seriously.

I agree, though I have to say I even found the little bit at the end with Blinky carving someone up was too much. The slow closing of the door, masking the smile of Blinky would have been a perfect ending to this short. I find the little bit that came afterwards unnecessary, and it weakened the effect of it a little This short works so well because of the lack of gore.

Also, the spinning head after the meatball reveal seemed silly. It would've been much more unnerving if it had just carried on staring at the camera. But that's just me really.

Other than that, great little short, if a little cliché and underdeveloped. Good find.

Edit: On a side note, that kid is really quite spoilt if his parents will just buy him a robot for $9999.95.

was pretty good, the last shot seemed a little pointless but overall I think it was great.

I really liked Blinky. It has a nice polish to it. Although I would have prefered it being an extra minute or two longer to show how the Parents and Son relationship was. Sure they are buying him whatever he wants and try to make it look like nothing is wrong, but that doesn't actually show what there relationship is/was, it is only partially implied. That's my opinion though...

That was so good that the terrible child actor from Where the Wild Things Are couldn't even ruin it!

That got really creepy really fast.

Damn that kid is a horrible actor though...

I was just waiting at the end of the credits after the crescendo to hear "My names Blinky. Would you like to be my friend?" I think that would have made it infinitely creepier.

And it was totally that kids fault. I was initially rooting for Blinky, up untill he started getting creepy.

EDIT: And the whole 'meatball' thing was especially bad, considering I've just eaten something thats left a funny after taste. :/

Baby Tea:

craddoke:
I saw this earlier today - well done, but the pay-off is weak. Where are the dead parents/dog/etc.? If I invest twelve minutes in a short film about a killer robot, I expect a little more horror and carnage. I mean, it's not like the fact he kills is a surprise to anyone watching the film - the shock needs to be in something else (although, I suppose the quality of the film could be counted as a shock).

*** All that is probably sounding too negative, though. I still liked it. ***

I think an increase in 'carnage' or 'gore' horror would have ruined the film.
The idea here, it seems, is that the robot is so clean, and helpful. The horror isn't in how it rips you apart brutally. It's how it does everything so mechanically. So matter of fact...and yet so innocently. I'm actually quite glad they didn't show anyone being killed by it, because quite frankly I'm surprised it could have caught anyone.

But, again, the horror isn't in it's abilities or the gore.
The horror here seems more based on the outcome of the dysfunctional family. I mean, a kid like that could have went and hurt his dog, or another animal, had the robot not been around. The starting of a serial killer. Instead, he took out his frustrations on the robot, causing it to malfunction, and another killer was made.

This is my interpretation, of course, but look at the film's focus: The mother and father presumably got married because they wanted to be together, but ended up fighting and breaking their marriage. The film opens up with the kid seeing something that he really wants, but you see the slow decay of those feelings, and the eventual out-right anger and hatred that boils out of the kid. It's a parallel to what he's seen his whole childhood. It's obvious the kid is damaged by his parents broken relationship, and in turn he damages his robot.

And what is the response? The kid actually shows more maturity then his parents, because he sees that it's time to let it go. That it's broken. But his parents are saying 'hes just making excuses because he wants a new one'. Can anyone else see the parallels to that and the parents marriage? They stay together despite it being obvious they the relationship is broken. And what is the result? Death. Had the robot not been there, it would have been a slow, internal death. A wasting of both husband and wife (And child) to their own dysfunction. But, with the robot, it turned into a literal, physical death.

Both are pretty horrible.

But maybe that's me. I'm probably over-analyzing it, but that's what I saw anyways.
It's a great short piece.
I think any longer and it would have worn thin, and if it was shorter it wouldn't have had the same impact.

That is definitely some deep analysis you got there, but I like it. I like it a lot.

And I agree that the gore aspect would've taken away from it. Honestly, when I saw the brief moment at the end where they showed the robot being splattered with blood, my mind started to slip into the realm of scoffing at cliches. But they ended it without showing the end result of its turkey-carving, and I liked that much better. Implied action in films can have a far more thought-provoking reaction than out-right showing every last detail of what goes on in an event.

I think this movie was excellent. With it being so short, the idea of the robot eventually going murderous wasn't a boring payoff that I had to wait a long time for. It also appears to have been a single, isolated incident. The main thing that struck me about the film was just how mechanical and innocent it went about completing its orders. Also how the boy began to emulate his parents' trend of verbal abuse towards each other. To me, part of why he wanted the robot was so he had something stable and unconditionally loving in his household. He didn't see it in the dog at first (early on in the film he got frustrated playing frisbee with the dog), but when the robot's unchanging "affection" started to bore him, he finally put the effort into getting it from the dog and that payed off.

That's just one thing I noticed, though. Color me impressed by the whole thing.

the kid was annoying, so wasnt too fussed to see him get the meatball treatment
but anyway really awesome short, great effects aswell

LadyMint:
*snip*

I agree about the gore thing. I think leaving it up to the viewers own imagination is better than just showing us a mangled corpse. As a wise man once said, " The thing about unimaginable horrors, is that we can imagine them all too easily."

The film makers seem to have been able to grasp the whole psychological aspect of horror quite well in my opinion.

That kid was ballsy.

Logan Westbrook:
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Logan, you missed a crucial plot point!

That's not a more advanced robot! It's just one of Daft Punk going for a stroll!

And that became pretty damn creepy... It seemed after the reboot it remembered all of its commands, including the one about cleaning the kid and cooking him for dinner...

"Did I do good?"

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