As Elton John once cautioned, “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids,” but it appears the characters in Settlers — a new sci-fi film from first-time feature director and writer Wyatt Rockefeller — must’ve missed that lyric. The movie’s first trailer has arrived, and it offers all kinds of reasons why the Red Planet isn’t an ideal family environment.
There are robots, scrawled warnings (in blood?), hostile intruders, and… what looks to be completely Earth-like atmosphere and gravity. Here’s the official synopsis: “On a remote homestead amongst the Martian frontier, a refugee family from Earth clings to hope for a better life. But when strangers appear in the surrounding hills and attempt to run them off, nine-year-old Remmy (Brooklynn Prince, The Florida Project) is faced with the desperate reality her mother (Sofia Boutella, The Mummy) and father (Jonny Lee Miller, Trainspotting) have tried so hard to keep from her.”
So maybe the “desperate reality” is a twist of some kind, like they’ve actually been on Earth or inside a simulation the entire time? The trailer definitely suggests some kind of Under the Dome situation may be afoot, but it’s hard to tell considering it mostly emphasises the arrival of the menacing stranger played by Ismael Cruz Córdova — someone you might want to get to know, considering he’s one of the stars of Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series. Young actor Brooklynn Prince (whose other credits include Disney+ gorilla tale The One and Only Ivan) plays Remmy throughout most of the film, but an older version of the character is also played by Nell Tiger Free, who you might recognise from Servant, M. Night Shyamalan’s weird Apple TV+ concoction.
Settlers arrives “everywhere you rent movies,” according to IFC Midnight, on July 23.