Consider this your invitation to get down and wallow in the techno-paranoia of our times. In Hover, the forthcoming theatrical release from SYFY Films, drones keep a devastated Earth alive by nurturing the food supply. But, in a trope that goes back as far as 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000, that kind of benign tech is never truly benign.
The trailer for Hover finds Earth in a sort of mid-apocalypse brought on by environmental neglect. The majority of the soil isn’t fit to grow crops without artificial tending, and drones are the answer. But what drones giveth, they also taketh away — and people who’ve lived through a brush with one of the U.S. Department of Defense’s new breed of sentinel drones know the best course of action is probably to flee where technology can’t follow.
At its core, Hover looks poised to question the lingering problem with sentient technology: Can we really trust it, no matter how well developed, to use the kind of judgment that characterizes the delicate, yet essential, nuances of human discretion?
The angry-AI question is having a moment of late, and drones have been turning up everywhere as the poster-bots for our dystopian mistrust of ostensibly beneficial tech. Whether menacing augmented civilians in a game like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, insisting on “helping” survivors of nuclear catastrophe in the “Autofac” episode of Amazon’s Electric Dreams, or chasing Mulder and Scully into a warehouse in Season 11’s “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” episode of the X-Files, they’re capturing the imaginations of sci-fi creators looking for a symbol of Terminator-like omniscience, omnipotence, and heartless calculation.
Hover is directed by Matt Osterman (who directed the 2010 supernatural indie thriller Ghost From the Machine,) from a script by The Last Man on Earth's Cleopatra Coleman — who also stars in it, alongside Sugar Mountain’s Shane Coffey. Also look out for Beth Grant, the patron saint of Donnie Darko’s pre-teen Sparkle Motion dance troupe — but be ready to duck: She’s the one in the clip who’s packing the shotgun.
Hover arrives in theaters on June 29, and on video-on-demand July 3.