The period we are told is a date in October, 1968. The setting is a remote bus station that is cut off from the rest of the world by a storm this remains the entire location for the film until the closing scene. Into the midst of this are introduced a varied cross-section of the sort of people that usually turn up in these Isolated By Crisis stories a man trying to get to his pregnant wife before she delivers, a woman who may have killed her abusive husband, a woman who speaks in an incomprehensible babble, an angry medical student and an upper-class woman with a son who is attached to a strange life support device.
This is a set-up diverse strangers thrown into a locale that shuts them off from the rest of the world that has worked well for films such as The Mist (2007) and The Divide (2011) and numerous disaster movies. The film initially has you focused on wondering what has happened to the outside world and what is keeping them imprisoned. As we are focused on them trying to find a way out of the station, things start getting really strange and the group have to deal with a series of bizarre transformations where each of them, irrespective of whether men or woman, starts to change into the likeness of the bushy-bearded and curly haired Gustavo Sanchez Parra. This starts to give The Similars a creepily weird WTF quality as we wonder what on earth is going on as was much the case with The Incident too. During this time, Ezban whips the pace up into one of frenetic melodrama, accompanied by a 1940s big score.
Throughout, Isaac Ezban gives the film the feel of an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959-64). This is particularly so when it comes to the very folksy down-to-earth narration that has been strongly modelled on the introductions that Rod Serling used to give to the tv series. The colour tone throughout the film has been desaturated until it almost appears as though the whole show is taking place in monochrome. Most particularly, the wild left field end revelation [PLOT SPOILERS] about everything being controlled by a boy with incredible reality-manipulating mental powers reminds strongly of The Twilight Zone episode Its a Good Life (1961), which was notedly also remade by Joe Dante in Twilight Zone The Movie (1983).
(Screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival)