Science fiction has utilized the idea of space being the next frontier, and in his feature debut, Settlers, Wyatt Rockefeller turns the Red Planet into a hostile one.
IFC Films released the first trailer for Settlers last week, and it shows off the plight of a family trying to survive on their remote homestead, only to run into some significant problems when bandits arrive.
The film follows a family—Ilsa (Hotel Artemis‘s Sofia Boutella), Reza (Elementary‘s Johnny Lee Miller) and Remmy (Game of Thrones / Servant‘s Nell Tiger Free and Home Before Dark‘s Brooklynn Prince)—from Earth who have escaped to (an apparently terraformed) Mars to start over as farmers. Earth wasn’t what it once was, Reza tells Remmy, and they wanted something more.
Things take a turn for the worst when the family comes under attack by bandits, who appear to kill Reza. They’re confronted by a man named Jerry (The Mandalorian’s Ismael Cruz Córdova), who tells them that the place doesn’t belong to them and that he’s going to stay. He tells them that they can leave if they want, but they opt to get the farm back up and running because there’s not much else out there—and because they’re biding their time before striking back. Along the way, there’s a hint that their world isn’t what they think—there’s some sort of invisible wall nearby that prevents them from going out too far.
The film has all the looks of a high-concept/low-budget affair that reminds me quite a bit of films like Duncan Jones’ Moon and Zeek Earl / Chris Caldwell’s Prospect: a tense thriller with some high stakes that shows that you don’t need a tentpole-sized budget to produce a good story.
Settlers is out in theaters and on VOD platforms starting on July 23rd.