Deja vu all over again.
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Watching Extraterrestrial, the latest horror offering from the Vicious Brothers, I found myself at one point debating whether or not this movie looked good for a low-budget sci-fi thriller. It certainly looks more polished—if you can call it that—than other films in a similar subject vein, but the camerawork is too frenetic to make proper use of the sets. It was around this point in my train of thought that I noticed a scene had changed without my realizing it. But I spent not a moment feeling like I’d missed anything, since Extraterrestrial tells a story that falls somewhere close to The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol on the originality scale.
I don’t even know where to start with this thing. The beginning? Okay. Extraterrestrial starts off with a distressed woman getting turned away from a convenience store by a complete douchebag, only to get zapped up into a spaceship. It’s vaguely atrocious, but not so much so that it felt like an immediate waste of time. It quickly gets to that point, however, by the time the main story kicks in and the group of generic young wastes-of-space enters the picture.
Five post-teens all head out into the woods, go figure, to spend a weekend partying at the cabin of April (Brittany Allen), whose parents have split up. It should be a romantic weekend for her and boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma), but there are differences of opinion that get relatively thrown out once aliens enter the picture and things get even more predictable. Lex (Anja Savcic) and Melanie (Melanie Papalia) are pretty by-the-books thriller characters, but it’s Jesse Moss’ Seth that really takes the cake and sticks his dick in it. Seth is every loud, overcompensating, rude jackass horror character that no one would ever be friends with in real life, and he makes this movie unbearable at times.
While they’re out in the woods, weird things start to happen: bright lights, strange noises, and giant spaceships crashing into the trees. Now there’s an alien on the loose, and our five main characters have to find a way to survive. I’ll let you guess what everyone’s chances of making it through the end of this movie are. Thankfully, this brainless batch of bozos isn’t the only set of characters that gets screen time.
More enjoyable to me were scenes with Gil Bellows’ Sheriff Murphy, who is dealing with his own issues with abductions. The scenes themselves aren’t that great, but Bellows brings the most gravitas possible to this flick. Even grander is Michael Ironside, who gets a small but memorable role as Travis, the weed-growing friend of April’s father. There is some definite scene chewing happening here, especially when the conversation turns to conspiracy theories, which Travis is a nut for.
Unfortunately, none of the main actors are playing on the same field as Bellows or Ironside. The Vicious Brothers do a decent job at times of delivering harsh bites of humor amid all of the dark and frantic running around. But almost none of it involves the central characters. It’d be one thing if the filmmakers were aiming for something more playful altogether, like they did with their cult breakout Grave Encounters, a movie that I adore. But the set pieces and the characters’ dialogue here aren’t funny-bad, they’re just bad. And they’re definitely not scary.
You know how a terrible ending can completely ruin a good movie or a good book? The opposite happens here, to a very minuscule extent. The last ten minutes of Extraterrestrial are easily the best Ironside-free minutes of this whole movie, and the generic climax gives way to something completely different and far more interesting. Like following a plain hamburger and soggy, saltless French fries with a roasted pear tart with an espresso caramel glaze. It’s probably all the same to an alien, though. Just like this movie is all the same to me.
Extraterrestral hit VOD on Friday, October 17.