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A group of friends’ weekend at a cabin in the woods ends in terror and death — but in Extraterrestrial, the new movie from Grave Encounters directors Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz, the horror has more science fiction origins than supernatural, as hinted at in the exclusive clip above.
Co-written with Minihan and Ortiz — the two work together under the pseudonym The Vicious Brothers — Extraterrestrial sees Minihan go from the found-footage horror of his previous work to something that blurs genre lines and highlights the unease implicit in many sci-fi tropes.
“Alien greys, flying saucers, alien abductions (and experimentation), cattle mutilations, government cover-ups –- it’s such intriguing material,” Minihan and Ortiz told THR via email. “Why had no one taken the cabin in the woods/slasher scenario and plugged in aliens? Like ghosts, I think that the fear of aliens is a legitimate fear people actually have, if only deep in their subconscious.” It helps, they argued, that so much of what’s “out there” remains uncertain. “Because it might actually be possible, it’s inherently way scarier than something like werewolves or vampires.”
Although the movie sees the Vicious Brothers pivot away from the straight horror they’re known for, Minihan said that it actually predates the earlier movies. “Extraterrestrial was actually the first film we ever wrote together, years before Grave Encounters,” they explained. “Growing up in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, we were both influenced by filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis — even Michael Bay. These guys make movies with huge canvases and we wanted the ability to do something with (if only a fraction of) that scope.”
However, the main influence on the movie is something far more obscure. “The single biggest influence was a made-for-TV movie from 1998 called The McPherson Tape: Incident at Lake County, which is a found footage film about a family that is abducted by aliens,” Ortiz and Minihan said, also citing The X-Files and the movie Fire in The Sky as other influences. “Although it’s certainly dated now, the film was one of the few times where we’d seen the alien mythos played dead serious in a horror context.”
Extraterrestrial is released by IFC Midnight on V.O.D. Oct. 17, and in theaters Nov. 21.
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