3 out of 5

Directed by: Neil Blomkamp

Another visual eye-popper from Neil Blomkamp’s Oats Studio, ‘Firebrand’ inserts the director’s monster template into Vietnam, positing his creature feature into an invincible devil that’s blowing up soldiers.  Rakka, the preceding short, looked fantastic and had a cool twist for its creepo’s building materials, but the antagonists themselves felt like twisted District 9ers, and some of the other ideas sprinkled o’er the thing had been seen before.  Firebrand, though, is an imagination-gasm, and this is applied to very creepy and gory effect: the devil is legitimately wicked looking, and those affected by its powers are given ace makeup treatment that’s as can’t-look-away awesome as it is disgusting.  The story is about as weak as Rakka’s, in that there isn’t much of one save an incredibly eye-rolly ‘explanation’, but except for some similarly (to Rakka) jumpy editing at the short’s start, it’s a much more watchable experience as it doesn’t revel in as much slo-mo, and generally keeps moving forward.  Up until the last portion, anyway, which has our lead army guy doing a lot of glowering and then the short just sort of tapers of…  But you’ve gotten plenty of eye-candy by that point, so ‘s’alright.