THE ARTIFICE GIRL Stuns With A Grim Look At AI And Humanity

By Chris Hammond

Tatum Matthews, David Girard, Sinda Nichols, Franklin Ritch, Lance Henriksen

Directed and Written by:
Franklin Ritch

93 minutes
Not Rated
Distributor: XYZ Films

THE ARTIFICE GIRL is unlike many other AI (Artificial Intelligence) films. There’s an unmatched intensity to this character-driven story. The film starts with agents Deena (Sinda Nichols) and Amos (David Girard) as they’re interrogating Gareth (Franklin Ritch). The agents who go after online pedophiles suspect Gareth is a person who knows a girl known as “Cherry”. Cherry is a girl who they think may be being abused, but they want Gareth to confirm this. What they find out changes everything about hunting online predators and also leads to questions of what constitutes being a living being.

Director, writer, and star Franklin Ritch’s construction of a tale has many different levels of interest to draw viewers. On the surface, the story follows the story of the evolution of the Artifice girl known as Cherry, but Ritch manages to also explore how people cope with horrible cases of neglect and abuse. This is one of those intriguing films that only come around once or twice in a decade.

The Artifice Girl is a film that employs an expert cast of characters with each cast member playing to their fullest potential. Sinda Nichols plays agent Deena with breathtaking intensity. When they are on the screen eyes gravitate toward them. David Girard who portrays the agent Amos brings a more humanitarian edge to their character. Girard employs a more subtle and controlled explosion in his on-screen portrayal. This isn’t to say that his character doesn’t explode, it is an explosion with a purpose.

Franklin Ritch plays the younger version of Gareth. This multi-dimensional character is played with a buffet of different emotions. On one side Gareth is a very damaged person who has mental scars from abuse suffered as a child, On the other side he harnesses this pain to create an instrument in “Cherry” that will help catch abusers. The problem is, he is blinded by looking at “Cherry” as just an instrument and possibly overlooking the abuse he causes at his own hands.

Finally, Cherry the AI-rendered girl played by Tatum Matthews feels like a seasoned actress with the capability that surpasses most girls her age. Cherry is a hard character to play. One part is an AI program and one part is an ever-evolving girl with a growing humanity. Matthews is up to this challenging character and then some. She not only evokes emotion but at times is more human than the other human beings in the room. Her scenes with the legend (and former AI character himself) Lance Henriksen are some of the most memorable and thought-provoking ones in recent cinema history.

THE ARTIFICE GIRL will make viewers challenge their ideas of what it means to be human while also entertaining their socks off. This isn’t a high-budget science-fiction shoot-em-up, but rather a film that draws viewers in with a story that delves into things we all overlook, our feelings, others’ feelings, and how they make us understand humanity. If unconventional horror/science-fiction films are your thing, be sure to check this one out.


April 27, 2023

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