Spectral (2016 film)

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Scene from Spectral (2016 film)...


"A supernatural Close Encounters of the Third Kind." A sci-fi/thriller story centered on a special-ops team that is dispatched to fight supernatural beings.


  • Release Date: 2016
  • Country/Language: US, English and Russian
  • Genres/Technical: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Action, War
  • Setting: Delta Green or Pulp Cthulhu, Modern Moldova
  • Runtime: 1 hr 47 min (generally formatted for a 30-minute commercial television slot)
  • Starring: James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood
  • Director: Nic Mathieu
  • Writer: Ian Fried and Nic Mathieu (story), George Nolfi (screenplay)
  • Producer/Production Co: Legendary Entertainment, Mid Atlantic Films, Netflix
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • TVTropes: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: PG-13 (Violence and Profanity)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

This film does seem to have a sort of Delta-Greenish aspect of a secret military organization that deals with supernatural threats, and the vaguely "Lovecraftian" element of blurred lines between supernatural horror and science fiction, but does not seem to otherwise have much in common with Lovecraft's work. The concept art, however, does look somewhat more stereotypically "Lovecraftian".... Upon seeing the film, I could more easily imagine a Weird World War setting where a "Red Skull" type of Ruritanian dictator turns his own followers into tormented spectral "super men", with a team of Doc Savage or Captain America style Pulp Cthulhu adventurers being the world's only defense against the madness and horror....

DAR in the YSDC forums: "...More sci-fi than horror - and thus somewhat misses the mark as 'a DG Op' - 'not explicitly Lovecraftian but easily mineable'."

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Will Ashton at We Got This Covered (2/5 Stars) (link) - "Despite some impressive visuals and a few good supporting actors, Netflix's Spectral fails to leave an impact."
  • Richard Cross at 20/20 Movie Reviews (1/4 Stars) (link) - "Spectral is entertaining enough in a brain-off sort of way, but the silliness of it all comes shining through when one makes the mistake of applying the merest hint of thought to what you’re watching. ... Had you paid money to see Spectral at the cinema you would have no doubt felt sorely let down, but at least by watching it on Netflix you’ll merely be mildly disappointed by what is essentially nothing more than a bloodless time-waster for kids with body hair."
  • Shelby Fielding at Movie Quotes and More (1/5) (link) - "...where this film fell flat for me was its terrible pacing, unnecessary rapid editing, lackluster performances, and plot hole driven script with many conveniences."
  • Kevin Howell at Beboti (2 Stars) (link) - "Though Spectral can't quite gel all the elements it wants, it isn't all that bad. It is what it is, and could have been much worse. The stronger points keep it together enough to help it pass by easily."
  • Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects (link) - "The “ghosts of war” are floated as an explanation for the specters with the idea that the horror of war has introduced something supernatural into the field, and it’s an intriguing concept brought to life."
  • Richard Scheib at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (3/5 Stars) (link) - "Spectral comes with a high-concept premise. The idea of soldiers fighting ghosts is an intriguing one. Previously we’ve had soldiers and vampires – The Keep (1983), soldiers and werewolves – Dog Soldiers (1988), and plenty of examples of soldiers and zombies but to my knowledge this is the first time we’ve had soldiers and ghosts. ... Full marks to George Nolfi for contriving an explanation that involves the only occasion when Bose-Einstein Condensate has ever been used in a film."
  • W. L. Swarts at W.L. Swarts Reviews the Universe (link) - "Spectral builds initially well as a scientific exploration of a horrific series of deaths near the battlefield before degenerating into an all-out battle between humans and the entities. The film does a good job of wrapping up the nature of the adversary and making the threat credible and creepy. But, the film gets lost at the beginning of the third act and that makes Spectral feel a little erratic."
  • Martin Wakefield at BloodGuts UK Horror (3/5) (link) - " The cast do well to keep the story moving but certainly won’t get any standout recognition here but that is what Spectral is all about. No need for in depth discovery, this is popcorn cinema with a supernatural twist, and it’s done well."


 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

A sci-fi/thriller story centered on a special-ops team that is dispatched to fight supernatural beings, the result of a foreign government's super-science attempt to engineer "super-soldiers" using 3D Printer technology to print "apparitions" and remotely control them using the disembodied brains of vivisected human beings connected to computers.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes

  • Delta Green is in a race against time when they become involved in investigating reports of deployed military forces being attacked by "apparitions" connected with strikes against a terrorist cult who have made a hideous pact with a Mi-Go brain surgeon....
  • In Pulp Cthulhu during a Weird World War, a mad Ruritanian dictator has surgically and super-scientifically altered his own people into tormented spectral "super-soldiers" in a monstrous bid to conquer the world, and the heroic band of pulp adventurers and superheroes are the only ones who can stop them!