Not all dystopian dramas are built the same. While some like “The Hunger Games” introduce us to high concept sci-fi worlds unlike our own, others portray the grim possibilities of what might be waiting for us just a few years in the future. The upcoming movie “Night Raiders,” the feature-film debut from Canadian First Nations writer-director Danis Goulet that counts Taika Waititi as its executive producer, is firmly in the camp of the latter.
“Night Raiders” takes place in the year 2043 and in this vision of the future, things have not turned out so well in the Americas following a cataclysmic war. In addition to the typical trappings of societal collapse, the highly militarized government has mandated that all children be surrendered to camps where they will be trained and indoctrinated to become future soldiers. Enter Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers), an indigenous woman whose daughter Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) has recently been taken to one such facility. To rescue her daughter and do her part to leave her a better future, Niska joins a group of rebels that seeks to undo the authoritarian powers that be.
The movie did the festival circuit in 2021 where it received strong praise from critics (it currently has a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and is scheduled to hit theaters and VOD on November 12. In anticipation of its release, a new clip from “Night Raiders” has just dropped and it gives us insight into the dark and harrowing world of the film.
The minute-long “Night Raiders” clip appears to be a solid encapsulation of the type of world-building this dystopian thriller is trying to achieve. We see two young characters, Waseese and an unnamed kid, cautiously approaching a downed drone. In the trailer for “Night Raiders,” drones look to play a large role in the arsenal of the authoritarian military government at the center of the narrative. These are not the kind of drones you use to get dynamic shots on a family vacation. Rather, they are military drones that are small enough to zip around tactically and deadly enough to make anybody caught in their path very, very afraid.
We can see that fear on the face of Waseese as she cautiously approaches the downed drone. “It’s okay, it’s been here for ages,” the unnamed kid tells Waseese, implying that the killing machine is broken and harmless. He kicks it and watches the spider-like legs flop lifelessly to prove his point. But Waseese isn’t convinced. She says she can still hear the drone breathing and sure enough, the machine suddenly springs to life and begins trying to right itself like a bug trapped on its back. Niska appears and quickly dismantles the drone before grabbing the kids and running away.
If you’re intrigued to see more, you can check out “Night Raiders” when it premieres in theaters and on VOD on November 12.