'Ejecta': Film Review

Courtesy of IFC Midnight
Visually muddy and often incoherent in its storytelling, this genre effort nonetheless boasts some imaginative touches

Close encounters of the third kind prove less than benign in this low-budget sci-fi horror film

Clearly intended solely for sci-fi/horror genre enthusiasts, the latest effort from the screenwriter of such twistedly original efforts as Pontypool and Septic Man determinedly demonstrates the malicious effects of close encounters of the third kind. Featuring a standout performance by Julian Richings as the unfortunate victim of such an occurrence who also finds himself menaced by government forces, Ejecta is ultimately too disjointed and incoherent to have the desired impact. But it certainly features some arresting moments during its wild ride.

The central character is the elderly Bill Cassidy, who recounts his experiences online under the handle "Spider Nevi." Still suffering from an encounter with an extraterrestrial who literally messed with his head nearly four decades earlier, he's attracted the attention of alien chasing documentary filmmaker Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold), who visits him at his secluded farm on the eve of a solar event that has potentially catastrophic consequences.

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The timing of their meeting proves fateful, as a UFO happens to land nearby at the same time, with the duo finding themselves being chased by mysterious creatures going bump in the night. The action is fleetingly captured by Sullivan's video camera, injecting a found-footage style into the proceedings.

An interwoven storyline depicts the hapless Cassidy being captured by government forces and brutally interrogated by the no-nonsense Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle, Pontypool), who'll stop at nothing to get the information she needs.

Featuring but three main characters and clearly shot on a shoestring budget, the film co-directed by Matt Wiele and Chad Archibald manages to infuse some imaginative elements into its familiar genre tropes. But the non-linear storytelling is often hard to decipher, the visual style is muddy at best, and the denouement is underwhelming.

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That it works to the extent that it does is due to Richings' fearsomely committed performance in the central role. Looking desperately frail, the British actor who's become a mainstay in Canadian cinema and theater is hauntingly compelling as a man physically and emotionally ravaged by past and present horrors.

Production: Foresight Features
Cast: Julian Richings, Lisa Houle, Adam Seybold
Directors/editors: Matt Wiele, Chad Archibald
Screenwriter: Tony Burgess
Producers: Chad Archibald, Cody Calahan, Jesse Thomas Cook, John Geddes, Matt Wiele
Executive producers: Jesse Thomas Cook, Matt Wiele, John Geddes
Directors of photography: Cody Calahan, Devin Lund
Production designer: Jason Brown
Costume designer: Melissa Shouldice
Composer: Stephanie Copeland

No rating, 87 min.