Directed by Colin Minihan
Written by Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz
Starring Brittany Allen, Freddy Stroma, Melanie Papalia, Jesse Moss
A group of friends on a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods find themselves
terrorised by alien visitors.
Out in the UK next weekend, this is less Close Encounters, more Fire In The Sky with a tongue firmly planted in its cheek. The Vicious Brothers, a writing duo of Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz became notorious with their Tribeca release Grave Encounters in 2011 which spawned a sequel. Now they are back and looking to the stars, rather than holing their characters up in a mental asylum, in order to give you your kicks.
Extraterrestrial, you should be aware, is probably the most comical approach to the alien phenomenon since Ant & Dec had a go at it in 2006 with Alien Autopsy. That’s not to say that this is a comedy (at least probably not intentionally), but the difference between a full-blown depiction of terror, like Communion, for example and what we are offered here, with all of its cliched dialogue and very real lack of originality, is stark and slightly disappointing for those that like their alien movies done with a little more respect for the as yet unproved theory of abduction by little green men.
About as predictable as its possible to be, the film hints at many of those projects that have gone before it and almost lampoons them all. If you don’t recognise the likes of Signs, The McPherson Tape and all of those already mentioned, then you’re either not really a fan of the genre or just not paying attention. Essentially, you’re not going to find much here that breaks new ground or inspires confidence that The Vicious Brothers are doing anything more than capitalising on a genre that probably doesn’t want or need them sticking their oar in, for all the good they’re clearly not doing.
Take five young things, send them off to a cabin in the woods and watch them as they first witness the crash landing of what appears to be an unidentified flying object, followed by their struggle to survive as the inhabitants of the downed vehicle then go about making life very uncomfortable for them, firstly by terrorising the young adults in said cabin and then taking more direct action by whisking them off to their own turf, whereupon the now familiar ‘probing’ will inevitably come to pass.
As a serious study in fear, it does little to convince and as far as engagement goes, there are certainly jumps to be scared by, but this project probably undermines the gravity any of the previous films mentioned had garnered with regard to actual realism (if such a thing can be stated, given the subject matter). In Extraterrestrial’s defence, however, what it may lack in a riveting storyline or rounded characters, it certainly enjoys abundant levels of pure entertainment and is more than just a little bit cool, and if that is all you’re looking for then you will be well served.