Monday, May 5, 2014

Film Review: Stranded (2013)

Stranded (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...it's like copying the answers of the smart kid that sits next to you in class and failing anyway."

After a meteor shower strikes their isolated moon base, four astronauts begin to experience hallucinations...

Stranded starts off immediately with the meteor shower -- we don't know the astronauts and we don't know what they're doing on the moon. Anyway, the meteor shower caused oxygen loss and gas leaks, and, for whatever reason, Ava Cameron (Amy Matysio), the astronaut who inspected and repaired the damage, decided to bring a fragment of the meteor back to the safe part of the base. This fragment has some odd spores, and the crew are told not to touch them by Colonel Gerard Brauchman (Christian Slater) -- they do it anyway. The rest of the movie follows the crew as they constantly argue and occasionally hallucinate. The ending was really odd -- nothing really happens throughout the entire film, and the ending felt like adding some surprisingly decent special effects and makeup for a second -- really felt like a slap to the face for the audience that tolerated the film.

Stranded is a generic and cliché SciFi horror film. In this case, the clichés and character tropes are unforgivable due to the bland and boring story. The idea of hallucinations and delusions is half-baked; it never feels like a psychological horror film. In fact, Stranded never feels like any type of horror film. There is a severe lack of suspense, atmosphere, visuals, and even jump-scares. Furthermore, the film moves at a snail's pace, dreadfully dragging its feet through its plethora repetitive scenes. This is the formula I remember: someone's stupid action causes something stupid to happen, the Colonel locks down the room, then he opens it again for whatever reasons, and repeat. (kinda sounds like Dave Chappelle's Making The Band skit.) Be warned: this is one of the films where every character is a cardboard cutout, with little intelligence and no logic. Also, aside from being filled with clichés and tropes, most of the film's ideas are lifted from better films in the genre. It's great to find inspiration from other films, but at least try to make them your own or try copying a bit more efficiently.

Knowing the cast beforehand, I knew what to expect. Christian Slater hit a little lower than expected; he can usually hit at least decent, but he's mediocre this time around. Amy Matysio has a noteworthy performance because she hit it spot on once or twice, and the rest of the her performance was overdone. The rest of the cast was equally mediocre. The music is procedural, really nothing special but not terrible either. The film is mostly in the dark, so it's hard to see what's going on; this is unfortunate as the setting actually looked decent whenever it was in the light. Director Roger Christian doesn't really seem to have a vision of his own; his direction doesn't have any sense of confidence or ambition, he doesn't pull much from the cast or story, and he... he really just doesn't do much. I mean, are we sure this film even had a director?

Overall, Stranded is a terrible film. Fans of SciFi and horror will be sorely disappointed. Stranded lacks originality, it lacks suspense, it lacks horror, it lacks great decent performances, and it lacks competent direction; and, worst of all, its just downright boring. All of its ideas are actually ideas of other films, and they're poorly executed -- it's like copying the answers of the smart kid that sits next to you in class and failing anyway.

Score: 1/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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