Extraterrestrial Review – Great Scary Fun from The Vicious Brothers

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“Extraterrestrial,” from IFC Midnight Films, pits campy horror with heightened suspense and pulls off a winning foray into the Extraterrestrial, life on other planets, Area 51 horror space with authentic performances, credible special effects, and a realistic story.

 

Written by Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz collectively known as The Vicious Brothers, and directed by Minihan, the duo who chose the name they explained “after seeing their names[Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz] at the end and thinking that looks really long and boring and not very memorable.”

As the story goes, they pitched each other, literally with a dictionary until the stumbled on “Vicious” and decided that was it. A brand was born. Not related to Sid Vicious, the duo, a combination of good Jewish and not quite gothic, the two are funny, dedicated, and respectful of the great filmmaking style of Spielberg, of course, and Robert Zemeckis both whom came up in our interview.

One cannot name a film “Extraterrestrial” and not be reminded of “E.T.” the adorable extraterrestrial playmate to a young Elliott (Henry Thomas) and Gertie (Drew Barrymore). This is not Mr. Spielberg’s E.T.

The guys were quick to note their respect for Mr. Spielberg’s filmmaking and influence. “More than anything our influence with him is just the approach to filmmaking and like the respect of the craftsmanship behind everything technical in it the staging of events, performances and the brilliant thing watching a Spielberg movie every sequence is beautifully designed and we wanted to approach our film with the same love and respect for the craft of filmmaking like him or Robert Zemeckis who is a master in the regard. “

“Extraterrestrial”  stars Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Melanie Papelia, Jesse Moss, Anja Savcic, Gil Bellows and Michael Ironside as the group of 20’s something’s making their way decided to head off to April’s parents cabin to photograph for sale.

Let’s get this party started would be mild, as the challenges of capturing a cabin for Town & Country turns into frat house melee. Soon, the weed appears and quite honestly it looks as if paranoia will rule the day.

Our main characters, April and Kyle are experiencing relationship growth spurts as the future looks different depending on who sees it.

April decides NYU is the place for her, the opportunity to further her photography career and it seems as she speaks with her freshly divorced parent the distance between the two camps are just what see needs. Kyle has other plans and sees them inseparable in the future.

“Extraterrestrial,” moves between the weekend party crowd to a series of disturbing disappearances, children, women, townspeople over the past decade have gone missing, never to be seen again. No trace ever showing up on the grid anywhere.

As “Extraterrestrial” opens the first scene slams this truth of a strange magnetic force, either a weather phenomenon generated in the north/western U.S. or an electrical storm, unknown, the evidence of its presences is felt.

We meet our local sheriff, a dedicated law man, played by Gil Bellows, who has felt the intense loss as his wife went missing a decade ago. Being able to access every known database turned up nothing. She simply disappeared.  He is paired with young, red neck know it all, whose level of reason doesn’t extend past his badge.

Our girls April and Melanie, are communing with nature as the dog disappears the girls hunt him down and find Travis, played by Michael Ironside, a former Vietnam vet, pot smoking weed farmer who explains the odd “northern lights.”

The girls head back, and a collision of destinies, I suppose is the best way to describe the following scene.

As fate would have it an electrical storm is brewing and like any good horror film worth its salt, the electricity is blown and the stoned group is left, in the dark, to find the cause.

The group end up in the basement, hearing every creek in the floorboards, sure someone is in the house, and decided to meet the guest armed.

 “Extraterrestrial” starts with a burst of fear and a campy horror film, with genuine heightened suspense. The ending, which I will not give away, is cruel and b-r-u-t-a-l. Not bloody, but brutal punishment.

I enjoyed the film, with each review of this type of film, I do explain that I horror is not my first choice, nor would I pay to see horror and if I were undecided at the box office, I wouldn’t choose the genre. However, I did find it interesting, and it held my attention even past the ending which left me stunned.

 “Extraterrestrial” is a ten year old project, as Colin and Stuart said, “It is a 30m dollar film on a 3million dollar budget.”

“Extraterrestrial” hits the theaters October 17, 2014.

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