Sensation (2021) poster

Sensation (2021)


UK. 2021.


Director – Martin Grof, Screenplay – Magdalena Drahovska & Martin Grof, Photography – Jamie Burr & Martin Grof, Music – Neil Myers, Makeup Design – Jules Roman, Production Design – Fabricio Brandi. Production Company – GROFilm Productions.


Eugene Simon (Andrew Cooper), Emily Wyatt (Nadia), Jennifer Martin (May), Alistair G. Cumming (Dr Daniel Marinus), Bethan Wright (Rebecca), Alex Reid (Ernesto), Anil Desai (Shaan Arya), Lorraine Tai (Quinn), Kai Francis-Lewis (Yuri)


Postman Andrew Cooper has applied to a company that analyses genetic ancestry in an effort to find who his father was. He feels uncomfortable with the personal questions that company head Dr Daniel Marinus insists on asking beforehand. He receives the results but these prove inconclusive. Andrew then finds Marinus and others are following him. At threat made against his mother, Andrew is made to come away to the countryside mansion that Marinus’s people operate. There he meets Nadia who shows him and the others gathered there that they have unique sensory powers and are receptive to transmission from others. They are then placed through a program where they are taught how to use these powers and navigate their way through a labyrinth of mental illusions.

Sensation was the second film for Martin Grof, a director/writer from the former Czechoslovakia now resident in the UK. Grof had previously made the low-budget time travel film Excursion (2018).

Excursion was purportedly a low-budget film but Sensation seems to be altogether better budgeted. The actors are unknowns but Martin Grof puts the film together with a polished slickness and some not too bad effects. The set-up has promise – that of the guy brought in for an innocent genetic ancestry test and then asked probing questions, followed by him being inducted into a secret organisation where he and other recruits are trained to harness their powers.

Eugene Simon and Jennifer Martin in Sensation (2021)
Eugene Simon is taken out to train his psychic abilities by Jennifer Martin

This is Martin Grof’s take on a Superhero Film, although one that comes without capes and features everyday characters who just happen to have powers – not dissimilar to say tv’s Heroes (2006-10). The location is essentially the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters turned on its head – where instead of a welcoming home for the powered, the facility is something sinister that holds secrets, where the protagonist cannot be certain if he is on the right side and struggles to see the things his instructors want him to.

Sensation starts like it is heading in promising directions with an interesting plot where the group are being trained to decipher between Reality and Illusion and use their powers. It is here though that the film started to lose me as it is not clear who the group’s nemeses are (we never see the opposing group), the difference between reality and illusion, or even what the individual powers that some of them have are meant to be. The film became confusing after some of the realty flips in the latter twenty minutes, before arriving at a real downer of an ending that left me unclear as to why things were happening.

This should not be confused with the earlier clairvoyant thriller Sensation (1994).

Trailer here

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