Hollywood loves a science fiction film, with an emphasis on the latter and little adult thought given to the former. These films are almost always loud, brash and more than a little ridiculous, but even LA will struggle to surpass Will Smith punching an alien. However, there are a small cohort of intelligent independent sci-fi films, such as Coherence and Primer, which are both smart and entertaining. Minor Premise is set to join this small but impressive group.

Ethan (Sathya Sridharan) is desperate to escape his father’s legacy and prove himself. Under pressure for results, to secure financing, from a former colleague (Dana Ashbrook), he has locked himself away, determined to find answers and unlock the mysteries of the brain. When an experiment goes wrong, he must work against the clock with his ex and fellow scientist Allie (Paton Ashbrook) to put the pieces back together.

 Minor Premise is a masterclass of how to make an enthralling genre movie on a low budget. With most of the action occurring within the same location, it’s up to Sridharan to do most of the heavy lifting. He does this with aplomb, managing to convey a mixture of personalities with a hint of mystery. Eric Schultz’s debut is beautifully written and sharply observed film. It’s cut together so well to create a palpable tension. Minor Premise is a major achievement.

Minor Premise screens at Fantasia Festival.