Another gem and surprise hit at this year’s FrightFest was the Manetti Brothers psychological Sci-Fi drama The Arrival Of Wang, though this drama has one or two laughs thrown in.

Although displaying a nod to genre classics such as ET, War Of The Worlds and The Day The Earth Stood Still, this is by no means a big budget affair. Au contraire, it’s as low budget and as simplistic as it can get, but despite of it (or perhaps because of it) it works a treat.
Francesca Cuttica plays Gaia, an interpreter based in Rome who works on a rather boring movie translation. Her speciality is Mandarin Chinese, which straight away puts her on a different level as far as translators and interpreters go. One day she gets a call from a government agency regarding a highly paid job, but they won’t tell her anything about the specifics involved. The prospect of earning so much money just for one job makes her accept, and soon after she sees herself whisked away in a car to a secret location, blindfolded all the way. Upon arrival, she is taken to an interrogation room where she is to work with Inspector Curti (Ennio Fantastichini). As it turns out, her job involves the interrogation of a suspect, but as all is carried out in complete darkness she cannot see the face of said suspect, who only is referred to as Mr. Wang (voiced by Li Yong).

Curti won’t reveal whom he works for nor why Wang is being interrogated, but soon enough things get out of hand and eventually we (and Gaia) come to learn that Wang is not one of us. Just in case you haven’t guessed it by looking at the DVD sleeve!
Now a cat and mouse game starts in establishing whether Wang arrived with good or with malevolent intentions, and as the film progresses so do basic human instincts such as fear and prejudice against the unknown. It also touches on controversial topics like state sanctioned torture, and how far authorities allow themselves to go in order to extract information.

I won’t give much more away than I already have, except there is a twist ending. And in case you wonder what’s with all the Mandarin Chinese language malarkey, well, apparently it’s not English but Mandarin which is the most widely spoken language on our planet. The things you learn!

The film is firmly held together by its two main actors, Francesca Cuttica and Ennio Fantastichini, who both do a fantastic job given that fact that the film’s ‘action’ is set almost entirely in an interrogation room.
The few special effects are admittedly a bit on the B-movie side, as is the look of Mr. Wang, but it doesn’t do the overall story any harm and almost adds to the low budget charm.

For those who missed it at FrightFest, The Arrival Of Wang is now available on DVD and with a host of Extras including:
Behind The Scenes, Special Effects featurette, Exclusive interviews with Manetti Bros, and actress Francesca Cuttica. And English subtitles for those who are neither fluent in Italian or Mandarin Chinese.