'Upgrade' is essentially a science fiction body horror film packed with more clichés than you can imagine, but the difference between a typically cliché-heavy film and 'Upgrade' is that the latter works... Really well.
The critical responses from many of Blumhouse Productions' low-budget horror efforts speak for themselves. Jason Blum knows how to deliver horror in a way that at first feels familiar but eventually does a backflip. 'Upgrade' is no exception; it is filled with a great amount of dark, suspenseful moments as well as action-packed fight sequences and everything in between.
Writer Leigh Whannell really went to town with the concept of a man (Grey, played by Logan Marshall-Green) being given the abilities of a machine (named STEM). It's something that anyone could get excited about, and it seems like everyone behind the creation of this film really had its audience in mind.
There is a great shot worth pointing out that highlights this man-machine hybrid where it seems a camera is strapped around Logan's waist as he moves robotically. It really amplifies the overall vibe of the film and helps to get the point across that, when Logan lets it, STEM can completely control his every move.
Though at its roots this is a horror, there are genuinely funny moments that act as points of relief between all the darkness while not distracting from it too much to turn it into a comedy. This is in part as a result of the abilities of Logan who reacts fittingly and expertly to the things (both good and bad) his character experiences with STEM acting on his behalf.
As mentioned earlier in this review there are undoubtedly some cringe-inducing cliché moments here. Much like a few of Blumhouse's recent horror works such as 'Happy Death Day' and 'Truth Or Dare' however, they're handled a lot differently than your average.
There's a cleverness there... A genuine intelligence and awareness that drives 'Upgrade' away from other films in its field and toward a place where we can only hope horror is heading in the future.