top of page



average rating is 3 out of 5


Alasdair MacRae


Posted on:

Jan 27, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Joshua Armstrong
Written by:
Joshua Armstrong
Michael Southgate, Emily Tucker, Alex Arnold

After his latest dose of heroin Oliver (Michael Southgate) wakes up in a police interrogation. Startled and with no idea as to how long he has been out, he has as many questions as the two officers across the desk. Slowly he begins to come around and his memories resurface, most of them detailing his decline into addiction, but spliced in is something strange, something otherworldly.


As the title suggests every scene could be scrutinised as to what is ‘real’ in the context of the story. Can we trust the words of a drug addict? What is fact? And what is ‘the truth’? Initially, we see Oliver spending his days and nights getting high in an abandoned concrete structure with other addicts Renn (Emily Tucker) and Charlie (Alex Arnold). Their over-the-top chalky faces make them look like extras from a cheap zombie movie, removing them from a naturalised reality. This paradoxically grants them more humanity than most dramatised depictions of drug addicts, the make-up allowing the warmth of their personalities to shine through. Then, out of nowhere, Oliver has a job interview to attend – though it is sabotaged deliberately in comical fashion, an homage to Trainspotting perhaps? All of a sudden Oliver is back in the interrogation room pouring his heart out in a serious monologue about the tragedy that led to his addiction. A tonal pendulum swing. But because the audience weren’t allowed enough time to get lost in the previous scene, instead of a four o’clock to eight o’clock swing, we have a five to seven. The desired contrast is thus not apparent and emotions become muddied and indistinct. From there the film dances between the realms of grief and extra-terrestrials. The narrative throughline is clear, but the audience continually doesn’t get to spend long enough in any scene to connect with it, leading to a sense of tonal dissonance.


Apocryphal tries to marry the hard-hitting realities of drug addiction with a more abstract sci-fi concept, a difficult task and it comes up a little short of reaching its emotional potential.

About the Film Critic
Alasdair MacRae
Alasdair MacRae
Short Film
bottom of page