AWAKEN THE SHADOWMAN
(THE ONES ABOVE)
writer/director Joe Kawasaki
"At the heart of the piece is the affable work of Emily Somers in the lead role, making of Stat a character artfully balanced between her strengths and weaknesses, defined as much by her human vulnerability as her headstrong charm. Largely alone on screen, save for choice flashback sequences expanding upon the relationship with her assumed assailant, Somers commands the attention of camera and audience alike, spouting Kawasaki’s witty dialogue—traded, in a tricky setup, with her hacking collective colleagues via a three-way video chat—with enough sassy vim to make hers a character of impressive definition all-too-often unseen in such short-form storytelling.
For all the strengths of her work, and indeed that of her talented co-stars, Somers’ skills find key support in the solid foundations of Kawasaki’s sharp script."
— Ronan Doyle, NextProjection.com (Freelance Critic for Indiewire, FilmLinc, Film Ireland, etc.)
"Characterisation throughout is consistently strong; Emily Somers’ strong-willed Stat instantly drawing parallels with Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo from Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander. Travis Aaron Wade’s Jesse is a believably sinister and often intimidating villain of the piece; an alternate reality Julian Assange arguing against internet transparency in favour of utilising information technology as a means of domination. One scene in which the pair meet inside a coffee shop proves extremely hard-hitting, establishing a tangible animosity which is successfully maintained and built upon throughout the forty minute runtime."
"Emily Somers nails the main role of Stat. She’s a cute, skater-type who’s also a highly skilled, professional, white-hat that helps companies secure their networks. Most of the movie focuses around Stat and she carries her scenes well. She’s sexy, but doesn’t flaunt it—she has bigger worries in life than humoring creepy old men. Her verbal sparring with Jesse (Travis Aaron Wade), the main antagonist, in a coffee shop is a pivotal scene in the movie. She holds her own and stares down the loony-toon villain in an idealistic showdown that clearly defines the differences in their world views."
"I rarely comment on the look of a movie, but the cinematography by Curt Apduhan is amazing. It has a slick, shiny, polished feel to and it reminds me of looking at a brand new PC. Emily Somers is very good in the role and i wanted to see more about her character then the movie allowed me to."
— The Vern’s Video Vanguard
"From a Basement perspective, this is a talky film that is kept visually interesting thanks to Kawasaki and his talented crew. And I can't knock Emily Somers either. She is esthetically pleasing."
"The acting is great and is showcased in a brilliant verbal battle/debate between Stat and Jesse in a coffee shop. The dialogue is sharp and as a fellow programmer it’s nice to see these guys shown as something other than the socially awkward outsiders that mainstream TV and film would have us believe."
"It’s a pleasure seeing Emily Somers, and an even bigger pleasure speaking with her, playing an unglamorous hacker." *Click for full interview*