A hitman thriller with a sci-fi edge, SCION is a precise and slickly produced piece that feels almost like an extended trailer for a longer film. Like a lot of good science fiction, this hints at a much wider world with many questions about the unexplained nature of what we’ve just seen. What is in the leather case presented to the collector? What significance is there to the ring appearing to bear the Eye of Providence, the symbol often associated with the fabled Illuminati? And just what are the true origins of protagonist David? There’s no room for spoon-fed exposition here.

Writer-director Clay Delauney, who has a background in commercials and music videos, has a clear eye for style – and the patience and courage to hold those killer shots despite the tight eight-minute running-time. With cinematographer E. Gustavo Petersen getting second billing on the credits, there’s certainly plenty in SCION that looks great. JJ Abrams-esque lens flares give the the opening scene an otherworldly nature, as David slips on his watch and considers his briefcase in a light-soaked, sparsely decorated apartment. Later, after a burst of abrupt violence, comes an enduring and blackly comic image of blood trickling down a piece of cake to mingle with the red jam inside.

Delauney makes tidy use of minimal, unobtrusive CGI to augment the otherwise wholly practical effects and sets, and there’s a lot to admire in the production values on show. While the small cast get little chance to shine in a series of sequences that amount to little more than short verbal exchanges, each actor keeps things effectively simple within a minimalist, moody script that does the same. A followup to SCION would be intriguing and more than welcome.

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CAST: Chris Cleveland, Ray Trickett, Eli Jane, Patrick M.J. Finerty, Harold Cannon 

DIRECTOR: Clay Delauney

WRITER: Clay Delauney

CINEMATOGRAPHER: E. Gustavo Peterson

SYNOPSIS: An accomplished hitman pursues his most elusive mark yet: the man who murdered his brother and sister.