“This is the opportunity to explore impossible frontiers.” Clearly, the opening line of the teaser trailer for new indie sci-fi actioner Kill Switch doesn’t understand that if you can explore a frontier, then it’s probably possible. Nonetheless, after 20 seconds spent staring at a black cube with a glowing red circle inscribed on it (which should really just read “not the Tesseract” in big letters), we get some images that hint at the film to come, but not much in the way of story. “A pilot battles to save his family and the planet after an experiment for unlimited energy goes wrong,” is the log line, but none of that is conveyed by the montage above. Mostly, it looks like terrible things are happening to a city in the near future, and Dan Stevens is struggling against the course of events.
Despite the almost certainty of our watching the film thanks to Stevens’ presence, two things about this trailer are worrying. One is the presence of what A.V. Club film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky has referred to as the “big hole in the sky” problem that plagues so many superhero films: Namely, the big narrative threat is often some vague energy hole in the clouds, threatening to destroy the world. It’s not visually compelling (or even distinctive, at this point), and this movie seems to include one. The other concern is the sporadic intrusion of a first-person shooter point of view that threatens to derail this endeavor, à la Hardcore Henry and other films that mistakenly thought people wanted their films to feel like video games. Hopefully, these are minor aspects of the movie—we’ll find out for sure when Kill Switch opens June 16.