Thursday, October 16, 2014

Little Green Men in the Woods: "Extraterrestrial" unknowingly clichéd, despite impressive lo-fi F/X



Extraterrestrial (2014)
106 min., not rated (but equivalent to R).

There is a new Geico commercial, wherein teenagers find a "smart" hiding place behind a barn of hanging chainsaws, that is more self-aware of horror clichés than "Extraterrestrial," which just bathes in them. To be fair, though, this hybrid of the cabin-in-the-woods and alien-abduction subgenres is at least a strong advancement for the Canadian writing-directing team, known as The Vicious Brothers, in terms of production values. Back when Found Footage was still a little more novel and exciting than it is today, the filmmaking team made a cult hit out of their shoestring-budgeted 2011 found-footage-in-an-abandoned-mental-hospital pic "Grave Encounters" (which even spawned a shameless sequel). Now for their sophomore effort, one of the "brothers," Colin Minihan, directs a script both he and the other, Stuart Ortiz, wrote. Not to be confused with the quintessential "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" or even the 2012 Nacho Vigalondo-directed sci-fi comedy of the same name, "Extraterrestrial" is not even close to the advent of originality, but as unpretentious B-movies goes, it's not that bad. 

April (Brittany Allen) plans to make a trip to her parents' old small-town cabin that's just gone up for sale. Her boyfriend, Kyle (Freddie Stroma), plans to go with her, but he happened to invite a few friends, including reckless buddy Seth (Jesse Moss, "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil") and his ditsy girlfriend Lex (Anja Savcic) and April's best friend Mel (Melanie Papalia, "The Den"), along with her dog. Unbeknownst to these kids, the small town of Everywhere, U.S.A., in which the cabin happens to be has been experiencing some farm animal mutilations and the disappearance of a woman (Emily Perkins, best known for "Ginger Snaps"). Right after Kyle tries proposing to April, who's already made up her mind that she needs to do something for herself and take a job in N.Y.C., something falls out of the sky and blows up in the forest miles away from the cabin. For no other reason to have the story advance, this group of twenty-somethings decides to check out what appears to be a fallen spaceship and go back to the cabin, despite finding little footsteps in that direction. To read the rest of the review, go to Diabolique Magazine.

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