Director – Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz
Cast – Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Jesse Moss, Melanie Papalia, Anja Savcic, Sean Rogerson, Emily Perkins, Mike Kovac, Fred Keating
Release Year – 2014
Reviewed by John of the Dead
It does not take much convincing for me to watch an alien film. From The Vicious Brothers, the duo behind the awesome Grave Encounters, comes their sophomore directing effort, Extraterrestrial. Shot mostly in third-person with a few hints of POV filming, this is an action-packed ride that consists of more carnage than I expected. Sadly, this effort falls short of enjoyable expectations and instead falls into the “sophomore slump” category. We get some decent horror here and there, but the rest of the film is a mess of a poor story and weak execution.
When a group of friends embark on a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods they anticipate a booze-fueled weekend in celebration of a wedding engagement. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, and their fun is cut short when an alien spaceship crashes near the cabin and its occupant leaves them fleeing for their lives.
The story begins with the first abduction taking place about 2.5 minutes into the film, and then comes the character play. We learn that the reason for the trip is Kyle’s marriage proposal to April, but right away you learn that Kyle is going to be in for the worst weekend of his life. When the proposal fails we are exposed to character conflict for the remainder of the first act, with the alien spacecraft crashing about 26 minutes into the experience. From then on out the horror is kicked into high gear and the Vicious bros throw in constant developments for the viewer to enjoy. There are enough engaging elements going on for this to be a flick that keeps your attention, but these constant developments don’t save the film from the inevitable.
Story-wise the flick could have been much better. The character play is cheap and the use of the supporting characters is wasteful. I was glad to see plenty of horror thrown in, but even the horror itself become old and cliché. There are obvious pacing issues and at times it felt like the film just would not end. It’s third act is the most tremendous as far as production goes, but by the time it gets to the good stuff I had already spent the last 20 minutes waiting for the end credits to roll.
With this being a Vicious Brothers film you would think that their execution of the horror would be top notch, but it is mediocre at best here. When we finally see the alien at the 35-minute mark we are shown a cheap CGI creature that left me utterly disappointed. Now, such creatures can be scary and I would not be surprised if some of you jump during its scare scenes, but nonetheless…it’s cheap. I liked their atmosphere and sets used, and since the entire film takes place in one evening there are plenty of dark corners/shadows for the antagonist(s) to hide in and jump from. This is not a film where one would expect good acting performances, so keep that in mind. What I really enjoyed the most about the direction though was the incredible final act. It seems like the majority of the film’s budget went into filming the final sequences, where illustrious sets and live-action horror allow the film to end on a decent high note.
Overall, Extraterrestrial is a letdown on many fronts. It isn’t entirely bad thanks to some decent horror that is constantly going on, but a lot of decent horror doesn’t make for good horror.