We've been excited about Syfy movie Isa ever since we saw the trailers for this smart, original tale of a young woman who discovers that she has a secret brain implant. And it's networking her mind with an experimental machine that could turn her into a computer processor. Watch it on Syfy tonight!
That's right, the network known for bringing you Sharknado is airing a movie that feels more like a Paolo Bacigalupi novel than a campfest. Set on the border between the US and Mexico, it's the story of Isa, a Mexican-American teenager raised north of the border. But the secrets of her past lie to the south, where her parents (now dead) were involved in a secret scientific project.
After an accident, Isa discovers that something in her brain has been "switched on" — literally. She's tuning radio signals, and having some seriously weird dreams.
But this technology in her head isn't just about beautiful butterflies. We quickly realize that it's also designed to turn teenagers' brains into computers, making their gray matter into a cheap source of processing power. The tech can program people to become ruthless assassins, too. Here's a scene where we see how the brain implant manages to boot up a killer:
What's terrific about Isa is that it's playing in the same thematic sandbox as other great works of contemporary science fiction, from Orphan Black to Ramez Naam's Nexxus series, but takes them in a new direction. Neuroscience and brain mapping technologies have captured our imaginations, and it's a pleasure to see them explored here, from the perspective of a geeky high school girl with a mysterious past.
At the New York premiere of the movie, writer/director Jose Marquez was asked whether the movie had a girl power message. He replied with a question: "Does Spider-Man 2 have a boy power message?" That's why we love this movie. It makes no apologies for having a female hero, and makes no big deal out of it, either. Ultimately it's about a group of characters, and how they function in a future world of brain implants and programmable minds.
Isa is one of the first projects from Fluency, a studio that's creating original science fiction content for Latin American TV network Telemundo. Marquez told io9 that the characters are what drew Syfy to the project as well:
The programming team at Syfy loved the performances and are interested in what Fluency is proposing ... Fluency is making universal stories for the America of today and tomorrow: young, diverse, optimistic and daring.
We're looking forward to what comes next from Fluency. In the meantime, don't miss Isa on Syfy tonight. It airs later this week on Chiller.