The Sci-Fi Thriller On Netflix That Should Have Its Own Franchise

By Steven Nelson | Published

In an age where cinema often blurs the lines between genres, Netflix’s Spectral stands out as a thrilling concoction of military action, science fiction, and supernatural horror. This high-octane film, exclusive to Netflix, takes viewers on a heart-racing journey where cutting-edge technology meets the otherworldly. It’s not just bullets and battles; it’s about confronting the unseen.

In the war-ravaged landscape of Moldova, where cities have transformed into dystopian battlegrounds, a new enigma emerges that threatens not just the lives of soldiers, but potentially humanity’s grasp on reality. This isn’t just a war with tangible enemies; it’s a conflict against spectral apparitions that defy science and reason.

Spectral is a sci-fi thriller in which humanity is fighting against a deadly ghost-like presence

Central to the narrative is Dr. Mark Clyne, played by James Badge Dale. He’s not a soldier, but a DARPA scientist known for his expertise in advanced optical technology. When the US military stumbles upon ghostly apparitions captured briefly on their combat sensors, it’s Clyne they turn to for answers. They need his specialized spectral imaging goggles and his analytical mind to decode the mystery.

spectral netflix

Teamed up with CIA officer Fran Madison (Emily Mortimer) and the stern yet determined General Orland (Bruce Greenwood), Clyne soon discovers the true nature of these apparitions is far more complex and terrifying than he could have ever imagined. The specters, while ethereal, have a deadly physical impact, taking out troops and civilians alike with chilling efficiency.

Throughout the film, the team traverses the devastated European landscapes, from abandoned factories filled with the eerie glow of these specters to underground bunkers where secrets of these entities are unearthed. Alongside them are elite combat troops, like Sgt. Toll (Max Martini) and Major Sessions (Clayne Crawford), each bringing their own brand of grit, combat prowess, and personal stakes to the mission.

Director Nic Mathieu does a commendable job of marrying intense urban warfare sequences with hauntingly ethereal specter encounters. There’s a constant sense of dread and urgency as the team tries to understand these entities – are they supernatural, an advanced enemy weapon, or something entirely different?

This blend of science fiction and war film conventions allows for both pulse-pounding action sequences and moments of chilling suspense.

spectral netflix

The heart of Spectral lies in its exploration of the unknown. The film prompts questions about the intersections of technology and the unexplained, of science and the supernatural.

And as Clyne and his team inch closer to the truth, viewers are treated to a visually stunning climax that pits cutting-edge tech against phantasmal foes in a showdown that’s both visually and emotionally charged.

Spectral is sitting at 78 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

While Spectral didn’t ignite a widespread frenzy among critics, it did find its loyal audience. The blend of military tactics with a sci-fi twist had viewers appreciating its unique take on the war genre. Critics lauded its visual effects and intense action sequences, while some found its narrative a tad predictable.

But where Spectral truly shined was in its home ground – the streaming platform. The Netflix-exclusive nature of the movie allowed it to reach a global audience rapidly, making it a popular choice for those hungry for a weekend action binge. Its impressive CGI work, especially in rendering the mysterious spectral entities, became a talking point among viewers.

spectral netflix

Spectral, with its unique blend of military action and supernatural horror, carved out a niche for itself in the vast universe of streaming movies. The melding of advanced technology with ethereal enemies offered viewers an engaging twist on both the war and science fiction genres.

Its rich narrative and gripping visuals teased the possibility of a vast world ripe for further exploration, making it easy to imagine sequels or even spin-offs delving deeper into the origins of the spectral entities or showcasing other parts of the world dealing with similar phenomena.

No Franchise Plans For Spectral

Yet, despite the potential that screams “franchise,” it appears that Spectral will remain a standalone gem. There are a myriad of reasons sequels don’t get greenlit, from creative decisions to logistical challenges. While fans might hold onto hope for a surprise announcement down the road, as of now, there’s no sequel in sight for this ghostly military thriller.

Sometimes, perhaps, it’s the solitary tales that leave the most lasting impression.