Extraterrestrial Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by IFC Midnight
Directed by Colin Minihan
Written by the Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz)
2014, 101 minutes, Not Rated
Theatrical release on October 17th, 2014
Brittany Allen as April
Freddie Stroma as Kyle
Melanie Papalia as Melanie
Jesse Moss as Seth
Gil Bellows as Sheriff Murphy
The cold open for Extraterrestrial is outstanding. A woman runs out of the night rain, desperately seeking help. The gas station attendant she finds, eager to close up and go home, steers her away from his shop. She runs to the payphone but before 911 can collect all her information, the booth disappears into a flash of light. Stark, straightforward, and concise.
Then the credits roll and Extraterrestrial devolves into a typical teenage horror movie where a beautiful white girl has to learn the value of what she has.
In between the darker, clever stretches of time where Sheriff Murphy (Gil Bellows) attempts to figure out what’s going on while ignoring his gut that this phenomenon is something otherworldly, we watch April (Brittany Allen) pump out awkward and archaic lines to her devoted boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma) and her best friend Melanie (Melanie Papalia). The acting is perfectly fine; one can’t judge performances when the lines give them so little real emotion to work with. It’s the same boring constructs you’ve seen a million times: not ready to get married even though he’s great, wanting to follow her dream to New York, remember when we were young and carefree, yawn, snooze, snore.
In an attempt to liven up the action, we’re even taken aboard the alien ship for a few minutes, completely needlessly and unfortunately it only serves to further distance the audience from the emotional state of the characters. There’s even an anal probe “joke” right in the middle of all this tension.
The reason I gave this dreadful plot 2.5/5 is the effects and camerawork. They’re well suited and thoughtful; during the abductee’s recount of what happened to her, a handheld is focused and refocused and jostled to join the viewer to her mental state. When Seth’s (Jesse Moss) new girlfriend is abducted, the effects are absolutely beautiful. She glows in the blue light of the tractor beam, floating with small rocks before jetting up into the sky.
Reworked to focus on Murphy’s story, and leaving a bit of ambiguity about the nature of the abductions could have given Extraterrestrial the nuance and freshness it desperately needed.
As it is, you’ve already seen this movie a dozen times.