Having planned to spend a quiet, romantic weekend at her divorced parents’ cabin in the woods, April (Brittany Allen) is less than impressed when boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma) invites douchebag best bud Seth (Jesse Moss) and disposable gal pals Mel (Melanie Papalia) and Lex (Anja Savcic) along to partaaaaay!

After a run in with the local sheriff (Gil Bellows) who warns them of strange disappearances, cattle mutilations and a more pointed warning not to fuck with him, the friends begin to party hearty in that way only 30-year-old American actors pretending to be teenagers in movies ever do, it’s like Spring Break at Chad Hogan’s house. April’s not happy about the situation but has a couple of drinks and is starting to loosen up when Kyle makes the mistake of proposing marriage forcing commitment-phobe April to panic and turn him down flat.

April and Kyle’s relationship implosion however is interrupted by a fireball streaking across the sky and crashing in the woods nearby. Investigating, the gang find the burning wreckage of a crashed flying saucer and strange tracks, inhuman footprints, leading away from the site.

Barricading themselves in her folks’ place, April and her friends find themselves under attack from a vicious, otherworldly force. Something has survived the crash, something nasty, and it wants to do more than phone home…

You’re probably going to read a lot of snotty reviews of the Vicious Brothers new film Extraterrestrial. And they’re not unjustified. Extraterrestrial is not the smartest movie you’ll see this year. Maybe not even this week. And it’s certainly not original, half-inching scenes, ideas and even characters with a reckless, barefaced joi de vivre that would make even Tarantino pause and say “Steady on chaps, that’s a bit blatant…” It feels like a best of compilation – a big dollop of Communion, Xtro and Fire In The Sky, a drizzle of every cabin in the woods style movie, a splash of South Park (the lovingly depicted anal probing scene) – as if the Bros got stoned and nostalgic for their childhood. In fact, if you turn on the SyFy channel any night of the week you’ll probably see some identikit Asylum-produced DTV effort just with less money, special effects and talent lavished on it.

Because here’s the thing: the Vicious Brothers are talented. And no matter how moronic Extraterrestrial may get at times (every scene with Jesse Moss), how dumb the script may be or how obviously derivative it is, it’s a huge step up from their previous low-fi Grave Encounters efforts, the camerawork smooth and expansive compared to their earlier guerrilla grubby style, the action tight, the aliens are of the nasty grey variety who kidnap bumpkins and bum cattle to death rather than Giger-ish sex monsters and the opening is frankly stunning with a terrified, hysterical Katherine Perkins, desperately trying to call the police before being violently sucked into the sky, phone box and all, by an unseen force.

The film’s weakest link is it’s characters – or lack of them; they are cardboard cutouts, purely and simply a means to an end, burnt offerings to be laid at the altar of the Vicious Brothers childhood viewing pleasure, each disposable, each killed in the order you’d expect and ever since Drew Goddard’s Cabin In The Woods that’s really not good enough.

It’s saving grace though is its actors, with daytime soap actress Brittany Allen a convincingly take charge Final Girl and some great work by a suitably hangdog Gil Bellows as the sheriff haunted by tragedy, the wonderful Katherine Perkins as an abductee and the legendary Michael Ironside, once more for the cheap seats, MICHAEL BLOODY IRONSIDE, as the neighbourhood’s resident pot growing, tooled up, mentally distressed, conspiracy nut ‘Nam vet. Perhaps the film’s biggest failing is that Ironside, Bellows and Perkins never share a scene together. In fact, I could’ve watched Ironside’s pot growing, tooled up, mentally distressed, conspiracy nut ‘Nam vet all night. Although asshole BFF Jesse Moss couldn’t get butt-raped to death by an alien probe fast enough.

Ripe, nasty fun, Extraterrestrial’s as comfortably familiar as an old, wooly cardy with moth holes in the elbows, but, if you’re honest with yourself, a movie where Ham Tyler goes toe-to-toe with a murderous ET in a greenhouse full of pot is exactly the movie you want to watch this Halloween.



Frightfest Review: Extraterrestrial
An enjoyable, if derivative, sci-fi horror romp
3.5Overall Score
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