There are tons of horror films made each year. Seriously. They go from one festival to the next until, may be a year or two later, they get released. Some get the whole worldwide theater release (no more than 30 per year), some go straight to DVD and others not even that. Extraterrestrial is one of those releases that, at least in the UK will end up watched at home and not on the big screen.
What’s it about? A group of friends decide to spend the weekend at an isolated cabin in the woods. (Ring a bell?) During their stay, they are attacked by aliens. The young protagonist Kyle (Freddie Stroma) fights them to avoid being abducted and taken to the mother spaceship, while the county sheriff (Sean Rogerson) tries to figure out why there are dozens of people disappearing all over the place.
Verdict? This is a film made for hardcore horror fans. On one hand, Extraterrestrial is an unpretentious, tongue-in-cheek, genre film that you could watch and enjoy with your friends, having pizza and a few drinks. However, if you stop for just a second to analyze the script, well, you might ruin the fun.
The first act of the movie is so obviously self-referential that it almost seems as if the creators were making a parody. There are moments where it almost seems like Extraterrestrial is going to cross over with The Cabin In The Woods, the fantastic horror film by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. If you watch Extraterrestrial after Cabin, you’ll find more than a few similar plot points, and even similar visual references during the third act.
Writer-directors The Vicious Brothers are clearly horror geeks. But the problem is they have nothing new to add to the horror genre, no new ways to tell a story a hundred times told. Therefore, the flick lacks originality, strength and any shocking moments.
There’s also another reason why the film doesn’t work: aliens just aren’t scary anymore. Come on, be honest. When was the last time an alien invasion film scared you? Was it Signals, by Shyamalan? It was probably was way before that. It might have been the autopsy scene in Independece Day. But if you want a truly horrifying film from outer space, look no further than Alien, by Ridley Scott. Somehow, aliens are not scary any more, and if filmmakers want to keep exploring this sub genre, they need to find a new way to scare new audiences.
Final words: A fun watch with friends, pizza and beers. But that’s pretty much it.
Extraterrestrial is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now.