DVD REVIEW: EXTRATERRESTRIAL / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: COLIN MINIHAN / SCREENPLAY: COLIN MINIHAN, STUART ORTIZ / STARRING: BRITTANY ALLEN, FREDDIE STROMA, MELANIE PAPALIA, JESSE MOSS, GIL BELLOWS, MICHAEL IRONSIDE / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 16TH
Send a group of youngsters to a cabin in the woods and assault them with aliens. That is Extraterrestrial in a nutshell. Yes, the kids are annoying but you’d think aliens, who have travelled goodness knows how many lightyears, would have better and more important things to do.
There is a backstory to these events. Sheriff Murphy’s (Bellows) girlfriend suddenly disappeared 10 years earlier, and he warns the young folk that there have been recent ‘disturbances’ in the area. One such disturbance is a mutilated pig, and later their neighbour, a cannabis farming, ex-Vietnam veteran, tells them that “I’ve seen some shit”. He’s called Travis (Ironside) - no doubt a nod to the famous abductee Travis Walton - and the shit he has seen includes secret aircraft operating in the vicinity, but could easily include this film.
Travis helpfully tells us that ever since the Roswell flying saucer crash in 1947, the government has had a treaty with the aliens that allows them to abduct people. Fair enough, but the aliens are blundering idiots. Their wonderful flying saucers can’t cope with our storms, and yet another bites the dust just near the youngsters’ cabin.
The aliens are particularly inept at abducting people in this film, even though they have got hundreds “up there”. They knock down trees, short-out electrical systems, mutilate animals, lurk in the shadows, attack at random, and unsystematically scare the crap out of people. As for what they do to you when they finally have the sense to turn their tractor beam in the right direction, you don’t want or care to know. I won’t mention the anal probe (damn...).
A disappointing mixture of spindly aliens and UFOs copied from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with a dash of grimy and sadistic imagery from Communion and Fire in the Sky. It also borrows greedily and indiscriminately from real-life UFO and alien abduction reports and resolutely underlines the concept that the government is in cahoots with THEM.
The final few minutes show a flicker of originality and refer back to an earlier scene when Kyle (Stroma) unsuccessfully proposes marriage to April (Allen). After all the trauma of abduction, her excuse not to accept him because “we are all alone in the universe” is convincingly proved wrong on the personal and universal level. So despite the alien abductions and animal mutilations (apparently conducted because the aliens want to know all about us - couldn’t they just ask?) love at least wins out.
A well made yet wasted opportunity to comment on, explore or even poke fun at the subject of alien abductions. What is left is a mildly horrifying flick.
Special Features: None
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