May 25, 2022
Nik London, Charlotte Morrison
The year is 2079 and the Earth is reeling from an invasion by a hostile force. Whether or not this force is alien in nature is never made explicit, not even in the tiny writing of the introductory sequence, but we're probably safe to assume that it is. After a successful pushback by human forces the hostile species has retreated to what are now called Claimed Woodland Areas (C.W.A.) and special soldiers from the Safe Encounter Core (sic) or S.E.C. are routinely sent in to eliminate all remaining threats. This is where we pick up the story.
Writer/director/actor, Nik London is one such S.E.C. Officer who has holed himself up in a wood cabin after a seemingly bloody encounter in one of the C.W.A. He's in pretty bad shape but he tries to patch himself up as best he can and take stock of his situation as he reports in to Command. Apparently, Command only require very basic information from their operatives and Nik updates them on his situation with single word responses such as 'Status: Alive, Injuries: Yes, Medic Required: No'. This is seemingly enough for Command to offer Nik redeployment, which he has all of four minutes to comply with otherwise he will be targeted for termination. But wait – that dead body on the floor that nobody's even glanced at yet has started making low growling noises – whatever is Nik to do now?
It can be quite confusing to try and work out what's going on in The Deployment's ten minute runtime. S.E.C. Officer Nik London seems perfectly fine going through the motions; redressing his wounds, reloading his clip, checking in with Command; but as soon as the scope of the story moves to anything beyond the confines of an isolated room then writer/director Nik London seems to get himself a little bit lost. There are a lot of questions which the viewer never fully gets answered, especially about the S.E.C. and how they operate, and it seems at one point that logical storytelling goes out of the window in favour of impactful visuals.
Not that the visuals aren't nice – they come across as very professional and cinematic, along with the score and editing and other technical aspects. There is a real atmosphere in The Deployment, borrowing a colour palette from The Batman and a soundscape from Stranger Things and The X-Files. Sadly though, the cohesion of the plot breaks down the further the film progresses and in the end becomes a series of horror imprints which don't feel like they have any real foundations behind them.
Film-maker, Nik London should be proud of what he has achieved with The Deployment, which is a well made film. Writer, Nik London may want to look again at his plotting and exposition though, in order that he can help the audience out next time.