"Imagine if Memento met Pulp Fiction in the neon-lit Miami of the 1980s." That's the vision for director Saman Kesh's short film based on Hotline Miami, the ultra-violent and super retro video game that debuted at the end of last year.
Kesh isn't just any indie filmmaker; his past work has had him teaming up with Bret Easton Ellis for a Placebo music video, and going viral with Controller, which became a Vimeo Staff Pick last month. Now, he's setting out to create a bright and brutal version of the Magic City of the '80s, complete with old-school motorcycles, light-up neon telephones, and at least one rooster mask.
Like the video game, Kesh's film project will follow two main characters, known only as Jacket and Biker, who use the dial-a-murder service Hotline Miami to bludgeon their way across town. Jacket woke up in a bloody jacket (hence his name) one night with no recollection of who he was. But he discovers notes written on his arm that are visible only under blacklight, instructing him to find a woman named Lisa -- before someone named Biker.
Biker, meanwhile, has lost his wife, and Lisa is the only person who can reunite them. The rest of the plot is a mystery.
But it's a mystery that's fun to watch. The "hyper-'80s" style of Dennaton's original game remains, trading blocky pixels for noir-ish, pink-lit sets decorated with martini glasses and boxy TV sets playing vintage Miami Vice-era staples. Throughout the trailer, a synthesizer soundtrack sets an eerie mood.
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Kesh has set an ambitious goal of $50,000 to complete his film; at the time of this writing, the project had raised just under $3,000 on IndieGoGo, with 24 days remaining. Here's hoping some kind benefactors step in soon.
Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.