'Extraterrestrial': Film Review
Close encounters of the not-so-friendly kind
Opening shot of its sexy young heroine's backside in panties….check. Teenagers spending a weekend at a remote cabin in the woods…check. Conspiracy theories involving UFOs…check. Anal probes….check.
Nary a single cliché is avoided in the latest effort by the cheekily named The Vicious Brothers, actually Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz, previously responsible for the cult horror hit Grave Encounters. Depicting a close encounter of the decidedly low-budget kind, Extraterrestrial boasts an undeniable technical competence but can't shake off its inevitable been there, done that quality.
The simple plot revolves around a trip by April (Brittany Allen), her boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma) and three of their friends (Jesse Moss, Melanie Papalia, Anja Savcic) to the vacation cabin in which April spent summers as a child. Things proceed in the usual nondescript fashion—there's some mild drama concerning Kyle's unsuccessful marriage proposal—until a sudden fireball in the sky changes everything, as the intrepid group heads to the crash site and discover a burnt-out alien spaceship and the unsettling sight of strange footsteps heading in the direction of the cabin.
Cue the resulting high-decibel mayhem, as the not-so-friendly aliens do what aliens tend to do, such as beaming up hapless humans to their spacecraft where they, having apparently read endless accounts of alien abductions, indulge in the aforementioned anal probe. What they hope to find is anyone's guess.
Featuring dialogue on the order of "Dude, that's a dead fucking alien," the film doesn't exactly win points for sophistication. But it does have its witty touches, including a conspiracy-minded pot grower (genre stalwart Michael Ironside) who informs the hapless group that the U.S. government has had a treaty with the extraterrestrials ever since Roswell, one that's been broken after April makes the mistake of killing one of them. There's also a neat bit in which one of the characters attempts to avoid being sucked up into the sky by handcuffing himself to a tree, with less than felicitous results.
Also involved in the proceedings is the local sheriff (Gil Bellows), who has a personal stake in the matter since his girlfriend had been abducted by the aliens years earlier.
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The action is staged in proficient fashion with some imaginative visual touches, but it all feels hopelessly generic and the requisite ironic ending (hint: think Night of the Living Dead) smacks of creative desperation.
Production: Abductions Films, Manis Film, Vicarious Entertainment, Twin Engine Films, Pink Buffalo Films
Cast: Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Jesse Moss, Melanie Papalia, Gil Bellows, Michael Ironide, Anja Savcic, Emily Perkins, Sean Rogerson
Directors/screenwriters/editors: The Vicious Brothers
Producers: Shawn Angelski, Martin Fisher
Executive producers: Paris Kasidokostas, Terry Dougas, Randy Manis, Mark Lindsay, Kim Arnott, Marina Grasic, Jonathan Bronfman, Arni Johannson, Mark Cohen, Geoff McLean, Fraser McKeen, Dale Wallster
Director of photography: Samy Inayeh
Production designer: Scott Moulton
Composer: Blitz Berlin
Casting: Tiffany Mak
No rating, 107 min.