VSL// The most mind-blowing movie you’ll see this year

In 2007, VSL featured Tetra Vaal —an 80-second short chock full of extraordinary special effects—by a young South African filmmaker named Neill Blomkamp. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the 29-year-old Blomkamp is behind District 9, the most imaginative and thrilling sci-fi movie to come around in years (in theaters 8/14).

Produced by Peter Jackson, District 9 takes place in Johannesburg, where more than 20 years earlier a spaceship stalled in the sky, carrying exhausted and malnourished aliens, who were then placed into slums. MNU, a private company contracted to control the alien population, decides to move the aliens (derisively called ‘prawns’—they do kind of look like giant shrimp) to a concentration/refugee camp. Wikus Van De Merwe (a wonderful Sharlto Copely) is charged with running the operation, but he mistakenly ingests a liquid that slowly transforms his human DNA into alien (slimy claw first), thus making him the only person able to operate alien weaponry, and forcing him to become a fugitive. And that’s just the beginning! This film has it all—humor, frights, thrills, truly awesome effects and a tart commentary on human’s xenophobic and mercenary tendencies. This is one summer film you won’t want to miss.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. VSL// The most mind-blowing movie you’ll see this year