Written and directed by Adam Spinks
Starring Sarah Mac, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Neil Newbon, Daniel Caren, Emma Little Lees, Simon Burbage, Dolores Reynals, Ross O’Hennessey, Ernesto Cantu, Angela Peters
Deep in the Amazon jungle a research team lead by a respected Professor strive to protect vulnerable and endangered species, but when their guides abandon them they soon realize they are in the hunting ground of prehistoric apex predators.
Extinction is a classic example of how the found footage genre has grown old and tired. Even when you try a different take on the genre, it falls into the same old traps, cliches and horrific levels of boredom. Simply put, Extinction is a dreadful movie. What’s frustrating is that it should have been great. It’s a found footage movie which means it will always struggle, but it’s a found footage movie about dinosaurs! How could they mess this be bad?
It’s The Lost World meets The Blair Witch Project as the movie centres around a couple of documentary filmmakers following some explorers looking for a new species. But they get more than they bargained for when a T-Rex shows up from out of nowhere and puts their lives in danger.
There is so much that is wrong and annoying with Extinction that it’s difficult to know where to begin. It features all of the most over-used found footage tropes like constantly explaining why the camera is on, recording things that a normal person wouldn’t film, running with the camera still on, close up shots of people’s faces reacting to things etc. and it even features the Blair Witch Project “tent” shots. It’s like a check list of all of the worst things about the genre and Extinction ticks them off one by one. It becomes very tiresome very quickly and just infuriating by the time the final act comes into play.
Which, at times, feels like it’s never going to come. The movie runs for a ridiculous one hour and forty minutes with the dinosaur not showing up until the 60 minute mark and it’s paced so poorly that it actually feels like three hours. If this time had been spent building characters or establishing motives it would be one thing, but it’s not. It’s just an hour of “stuff”. Pretty stuff, but stuff none the less. It’s not even established in the early goings what our two documentary filmmakers are supposed to be shooting which doesn’t help the piss-poor story progression. At times it feels like an anti-deforestation piece but then looks like its a BBC wildlife documentary, only neither “presenter” Michelle wants to be on camera and the explorers never want to be interviewed. Either way, what they’re shooting is boring and we’re forced to watch. What director Adam Spinks was thinking is beyond any form of comprehension. There is a good 30 minutes that could have been cut from Extinction and it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Not that a shorter runtime would have helped the film (although it wouldn’t have hurt) as the film’s biggest issue is that its characters are badly written. We’re supposed to sympathise with cameraman James who is held up as the movie’s hero, but he has all the worst parts of James Corden’s personality and is somehow less endearing. He makes inappropriate jokes, films wildly stupid shots and doesn’t seem to have a clue what he’s doing. And because all of the other characters are horrible to him, you can’t warm to them either. So you’re stuck with these idiotic dolts that leave you wishing and hoping them become dino-chow as soon as humanly possible.
Formerly titled The Expedition, Extinction is released next year but is not worth your time. From its awful camera work to its terrible characters to its dreadfully clumsy Jurassic Park homages (it rips some of the lines straight from the movie), Extinction is a dino-bore and one to avoid. When the found footage sub genre finally dies and becomes a forgotten relic of cinema, historians can hold Extinction as one of the reasons it failed.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.