Directed by Colin Minihan.
Starring Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Jesse Moss, Anja Savcic, Melanie Papalia, Sean Rogerson, Gil Bellows and Michael Ironside.
A group of friends on a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods find themselves terrorised by alien visitors.
We have always been fascinated with life beyond our own, up amongst the shimmering night sky and far distant reaches of the universe. Menahem Golan, co-founder and Chairman of 1980’s “schlock-meisters” studio Cannon Films, once said that life “beyond E.T.” was what we as humans, as cinema-goers, was what we yearned for most. In 2015, it is easier than ever to create such a film experience, even on a smaller, more independent level.
In fact, Extraterrestrial, the new horror film from The Vicious Brothers (not real brothers, really Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz) is the kind of over-the-top, gory and ridiculous sci-fi horror nonsense that helped make Cannon’s name back in their heyday. But where their many efforts had a certain crazy charm despite their cheapness and tacky edges, Extraterrestrial has almost nothing redemptive about it all.
The whole exercise is unoriginal and formulaic, counting on the premise of “Cabin in the Woods” traits to carry it through to it’s overly gory mid-section and ridiculous ending. A group of friends, led by Brittany Allen’s April, head to a family cabin up in the dark recesses of a local forest, hoping to blow off steam while getting a little hot under the collar. But with no internet and no phone signal, the group are left quite literally clutching at straws, until a comet-sized object falls from the sky into the neighbouring shrubbery. Queue a grainy, hand-held phone-filmed sequence where the friends discover what appears to be a UFO, but those dwelling inside aren’t of the “phone home” persuasion in a scene that feels ten years out of date.
The Vicious Brothers come off the back of some decent notices from their work on the Grave Encounters films, but subtlety isn’t their strong suit. While there are some flashes of technical wizardry here alongside some decent cinematography, the film is ultimately let down by its script. Packed full of horrendous genre clichés that make little sense, the whole film feels flat and dreary with one-dimensional characters that make the kind of choices that no-one in their right mind would make. Even more criminal is the films use of the great Michael Ironside, here cast as the local quack-head who seems to be the only person outside of the government to know exactly what is going on.
Extraterrestrial will be enjoyed by many who enjoy this kind of horror film, one that focuses on teens in peril with some neat lights effects and more gore than an episode of Fun House. If subtlety or true terror is your thing, stay well clear of this one for you would have more fun watching Simpsons aliens Kang and Kodos try to overthrow the world than this. Nonsensical and ludicrous, Extraterrestrial is the sort of the film that you could skip straight to the final few minutes and know exactly what has preceded it. A miserable time.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★