Review: Sci-fi thriller ‘Domain’ is a labored critique of social media

It’s surprising how much happens in the science-fiction mystery “Domain,” given that most of the movie consists of seven people sitting in front of computer terminals, video-chatting. Writer-director Nathaniel Atcheson has found a clever way to tell a lot of story without many resources — although the end result is still more exhausting than enticing.

Set in wake of a panic over a flu pandemic, “Domain” follows a handful of select people secured into solitary cells, with a lifetime supply of a protein shake and a human-powered generator to run their tech. They’ve been assigned into groups of seven for remote communication and companionship, but as the movie starts, they’re getting sick of each other.

There’s still a bond, though, between “Phoenix” (Britt Lower) and “Denver” (Ryan Merriman), who draw even closer as they watch the others either descend into madness or get abducted from their pods by mysterious figures.

The strikingly futuristic set design and the question of what’s really going on here mitigate the tedium of watching actors talk into screens — but only a little. It’s no fun being stuck with a bunch of bickering characters, no matter how many plot curveballs Atcheson throws.

“Domain” aims to say something about the prisons we construct for ourselves via social media. What it mainly proves is that trolls and flame-wars are just as aggravating on-screen as they are online.




Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Playing: Starts Sept. 28, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills