I recall being at a party several years ago and we were discussing the future of genre storytelling. I expressed that I’d like to see something as serious as The Revenant but in animated form. Someone asked me incredulously whether there would be an audience for that. It appears my prayers have been answered because the final episode in Love, Death, and Robots, is the most somber in tone.
The Secret War follows a group of Soviet soldiers hunting an army of ghouls plaguing the forest. Much like Sonnie’s Edge, the short opts for photorealism with slightly exaggerated facial features. This slight use of caricature helps the viewer identify with the characters and negates any uncanny valley effect from some of the previous motion-captured shorts.
The episode is dramatically paced and takes its time teasing the antagonistic ghouls before they are finally revealed. The inclusion of occult elements makes the world of the short feel larger in scope. Each battle between the men and ghouls is shocking and uncompromising. While this concludes the Love, Death, and Robots anthology, I hope that the success of the series will encourage animation studios to explore different art styles, SciFi/Fantasy, and stories geared towards older audiences.
Love, Death, and Robots is currently streaming on Netflix.