Minor Premise is a 2020 American science-fiction thriller about a scientist who inadvertently becomes his own experimental test subject.
Produced and directed by Eric Schultz – making his feature directorial debut – from a screenplay co-written with Justin Moretto and Thomas Torrey, the Bad Theology-Relic Pictures production stars Sathya Sridharan, Paton Ashbrook and Dana Ashbrook.
Attempting to surpass his father’s legacy and pressured by an old colleague, Malcolm (Dana Ashbrook, a reclusive neuroscientist becomes entangled in his own risky experiment. Ethan (Sathya Sridharan) has now locked himself in his home with his ex-girlfriend Allie (Paton Ashbrook) and the two navigate trauma, ambition, and missteps of the past.
Diving headfirst into the uncharted equations of the brain, they realise that there is more at stake than just their relationship or Ethan’s reputation. With time quickly running out, he is forced to face off against the darker sides of himself while frantically attempting to solve an enigma that lies within his subconscious…
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“Minor Premise never gets as dark as Cronenberg (this is not a criticism) and isn’t quite as clockwork-clever as Nolan (a criticism, perhaps, albeit a minor one). But it demonstrates that a new and exciting talent has entered this woefully underpopulated scene. Minor Premise would hold its own in a high-minded pentad capping off the (wonderfully) smarty-pants narrative marathon of The Fly, Pi, Memento, and Primer.” 366 Weird Movies
“Determinedly lo-fi, Minor Premise is as deliberately fragmented as Ethan and demands that the audience keep up with the multi-layered games of cat-and-mouse that the Ethans are playing with each other. It’s a finely-crafted puzzle box that speaks as much to the heart and the head, with a simple but poignant message that we are only ourselves if we are complete.” The Austin Chronicle
“With most of the action occurring within the same location, it’s up to Sridharan to do most of the heavy lifting. He does this with aplomb, managing to convey a mixture of personalities with a hint of mystery. Eric Schultz’s debut is beautifully written and sharply observed film. It’s cut together so well to create a palpable tension. Minor Premise is a major achievement.” Backseat Mafia
“Minor Premise makes for a strong delivery of intellect and suspense. Bolstering superb cinematography and sound design, the surreal technicality provides a kick that’ll stir one’s gray matter. And thanks to the excellent script, the film excels in conveying both rich scientific detail and sincere emotion.” Bloody Disgusting
“Schultz’s style is definitely very minimalistic in nature, set mostly within one confined location and set design that is rather basic. But for a low-budget sci-fi with little world-building, the fact that the film is so immersive and absorbing is impressive. It just speaks to the power of the script that it’s absolutely fascinating.” Disappointment Media
” …a downright goofy scenario where different mental states cycle out at precisely timed intervals that just so happen to alight with the exact tops and bottoms of hours (dumb, but useful for the audience that has to keep track of it), but they don’t use it very well on any scale. There’s seldom any tension in how Ethan has to get some useful chunk of work done in six minutes, or how these passing hours are bringing him closer to some sort of collapse.” eFilmCritic
“With so many themes and ideas to juggle, the film itself becomes a little obsessive at times, and it isn’t always the most engaging experience. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to admire about it, and in a world where producers all too often seem committed to reducing intelligence, its unabashed intellectualism makes a refreshing change.” Eye for Film
“Minor Premise features a well-paced script which builds tension as the hours tick by. It starts out rooted in the science. But as time goes by and the desperation to return Ethan’s mind to normal grows things really get angsty. Add in the feeling of claustrophobia which comes from being trapped in one location and Minor Premise makes for compelling viewing.” Get Your Comic On
“While engrossing, I feel that there was a lack of emotional resonance […] Minor Premise is a solid thriller if not an entirely successful one on account of its emotional vacuity. It’s a Nolanesque dive into the fog of memory and the deception therein that challenges and entertains.” Horror Buzz
” …the setting of the basement and the ever-observing eye of the cameras further perpetuates the feelings of isolation and control. The film provides all the sad semi-sci-fi parts of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but without any of the fun or whimsy. Instead, expect a dramatic and perilous obsession with memory and all the pain associated with the inability to forget.” Killer Horror Critic
” …the film is far more interested in the mechanics of its plot. The few attempts at a deeper character study are either hamfisted or underdeveloped. That doesn’t mean watching someone battle his own mind for 90 minutes isn’t still incredibly entertaining. Although, it may be entertaining enough to make you wish it was better.” Movie Babble
Minor Premise premiered at the Fantasia and Sitges Film Festivals.
In the USA, Utopia will release Schultz’s Minor Premise on VOD on December 4th 2020.
Cast and characters:
Sathya Sridharan … Ethan
Paton Ashbrook … Alli
Dana Ashbrook … Malcolm
Purva Bedi … Maggie
Alex Breaux … Timmy Fitzgerald
E.J. Carroll … Doctor Joseph Lang
Karron Graves … Lauren
Nikolas Kontomanolis … Paul
Melanie Nicholls-King … Dean Myers
Lev Pakman … Mitchell