Monday, August 31, 2015

Film Review: Ejecta (2014)

Ejecta (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It simply doesn't do anything with its 80 minute runtime."

William Cassidy (Julian Richings) lives in seclusion after an extraterrestrial experience 39 years ago. As a solar event looms, William invites Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold), a conspiracy blogger and filmmaker, to his humble abode...

Ejecta frequently jumps from past to present. In the present, William has been captured and restrained in a heavily-guarded government facility. He's interrogated about the previous 12 hours. So, the film constantly jumps back as the past is slowly unraveled. The past boils down to William and Joe stumbling upon an extraterrestrial event — to avoid major spoilers. There really isn't much to say about the plot. In fact, I've already told you everything you need to know. It has some subtleties, but most of the narrative is hollow. The ending was also unsatisfying; it kept dragging on and on, always missing a suitable opportunity to end.

Ejecta is an interesting but forgettable film. In fact, having just watched it 15 or so minutes ago, I've already forgotten most of it. So, let me tell you what I remember. First and foremost, the storytelling is disjointed. It is easy enough to follow, but the fragmented storytelling makes this film feel sloppy. Secondly, the plot is hollow. There is hardly anything going on. There are too many unnecessary scenes. In turn, this bloats the runtime and slows the pacing. From that, you get many moments of boredom. If there's anything I vividly remember, it's how many times I felt myself dozing off — how many times my head spun from the boredom. Now, it does get a bit more interesting during the final act, but it really wasn't enough.

As for its horror elements, it is severely underwhelming. It has a moment or two that may give you chills, but most of its attempts at horror are futile. With the boring plot and underutilized aliens, it just never has the opportunity to really frighten the audience. It doesn't have any tension, there's hardly any ambiance or atmosphere, and there are barely any jump-scares — even the worst horror films have jump-scares! It has some interesting ideas, but they don't translate well to the screen due to the lack of suspense. The plot also wants to have a deeper meaning, but I'm afraid it's never conveyed effectively.

Julian Richings is great, though. If there's one thing I certainly enjoyed, it's Julian Richings' performance — a lot of energy. The supporting cast is serviceable — nothing awful, nothing great. I felt the film was too dark and the camera angles were poor; the cinematography wasn't attractive at all, I had to squint far too many times to see what was happening. Unfortunately, half of this film also uses the found-footage/mockumentary style, which means you'll get plenty of shaky camerawork and conveniently malfunctioning cameras — why does the camera always malfunction when it's getting good? Ejecta is directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele from a screenplay written by Tony Burgess. The film simply isn't engaging or entertaining. It has interesting ideas, but the execution is severely flawed. The plot is just so hollow and dull, it almost felt like I didn't watch film at all!

Overall, Ejecta is a bad film. It simply doesn't do anything with its 80 minute runtime. There are a few chilling moments and some decent ideas here, but the execution is bland. I never felt immersed and I never felt frightened — in fact, I never felt engaged. The hollow plot snowballs into many issues, like the horrid pacing, and the fragmented storytelling doesn't help — in fact, the storytelling makes the editing feel sloppy as well. Julian Richings' performance is a saving grace, but it's not enough to remedy the film's core problems. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I was about to eject-a this film. (You get it?) Avoid, or rent it if you're a big fan of aliens.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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