S.E.R.P. (2013) – Jim Morazzini


Starting with a premise that seems to have been pulled from some fringe conspiracy website. A programer is kidnapped and finds himself in an interrogation room with a bag over his head being beaten and interrogated. His crime, creating Alexandria, a search engine that returned a “yes” answer to the question “is the government of the United States evil?”

Now one can argue whether or not the government conducts these kinds of activities, but over something like this? A quick look at any political thread on Facebook or a brief search on political websites should tell you how far fetched this is. It puts the film in a bad position from the start and unfortunately it never manages to build any credibility. For example he’s interrogated by agents who in 2013 are unfamiliar with external hard drives. I think the government would assign some tech savvy people to his case. And once God, religion and faith are brought into the equation it goes even further south.

It’s a shame because the issues the film deals with, government surveillance, privacy, control of the internet, are all topics that could make a compelling film even on the shoestring budget this one obviously had. But by being so heavy handed it alienates viewers who don’t already buy into it’s beliefs. A more subtle approach would have let it present it’s arguments to viewers and make it’s case for them. Instead it beats you over the head with them and simply preaches to the converted. What could have been a compelling drama becomes a propaganda piece.

Technically the film is well done give or take a few issues with the sound. It’s shot in black and white, which works well for it. Along with its small cast and limited sets it has the look and feel of classic early tv dramas like 12 Angry Men. Pity it doesn’t have the substance to go with the style.

Maybe the folks who made and distribute this film should ask themselves why, if the government is this evil and repressive they’re submitting this film for review and not rotting in a camp somewhere…