Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Film Review: Extraterrestrial (2014)

Extraterrestrial (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...despite its alien concept, it still relies on 'cabin in the woods' clichés."

While spending a weekend at a secluded cabin, a group of friends are terrorized by alien visitors...

Extraterrestrial is, unfortunately, a generic horror film. The plot follows a set of painfully generic characters: April (Brittany Allen), a young woman with commitment issues, Kyle, April's boyfriend, Melanie, the 'quirky' stoner, Seth, the douchebag, and Lex, Seth's forgettable girlfriend. So, the first thirty minutes introduces us to a small town that appears to be targeted by aliens. Most of that time, however, is focused on April and her friends. So, it's boring and obnoxious. Eventually, a UFO crash lands nearby and, of course, the group decides to investigate. They end up being targeted by the aliens, which leads to a fight for survival in the woods/cabin. That's about it, really. It leads to a decent climax and ending. Again, it's nothing new or daring.

Extraterrestrial is a hit-or-miss type of film. I enjoyed the simple idea because we don't see many alien horror movies nowadays. However, despite its alien concept, it still relies on 'cabin in the woods' clichés. And it doesn't use them to be meta like Cabin in the Woods. The story has a few surprises here and there, but most of it is predictable and contrived. For example, it uses the sheer stupidity of certain characters to get rid of them—which ultimately feels lazy. There are some suspenseful scenes, but the horror never really stands out. It may be because the film also attempts to inject some humor into the situation. I chuckled once or twice, but most of the humor is stale. The film just fumbles too much.

The acting was okay. It's about what you'd expect from a typical 'cabin in the woods' horror movie. Brittany Allen performs well as the leading lady. Gil Bellows, who has a smaller supporting role, is a notch above his castmates. Most of the film was shot well. The music was also good for the genre. The special effects were decent, too. The film was written by The Vicious Brothers. Colin Minihan, one of The Vicious Brothers, directs. The writing isn't bad, it's just very generic. I can't tell if it was on purpose, either. Minihan is a decent director, but he's hindered by the writing. Despite its flaws, the film gets progressively more exciting and fun, but it never quite finds its footing.

Overall, Extraterrestrial is a decent sci-fi horror movie. It is disappointing considering we don't get many alien horror movies, but it works for what it is. If you're looking for a breath of fresh air in a genre dominated by ghosts, this might be worth your time. If you're looking for something oozing with originality, look elsewhere.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Violence and gore, some brief nudity.

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