‘They do not come in peace’
Extraterrestrial is a 2014 American science fiction horror feature film directed by Colin Minihan, based on a script by both Vicious Brothers (It Stains the Sands Red; Grave Encounters and its sequel). It was previously known as The Visitors.
The movie stars Brittany Allen (Dead Before Dawn 3D), Freddie Stroma and Melanie Papalia (Blade: The Series) as a group of friends that must defend themselves against an alien onslaught. Genre regular Michael Ironside (Scanners; Watchers; Abysm) has a cameo role.
Hoping to spend a romantic weekend in the woods at her parents’ cabin, April (Brittany Allen) is dismayed when her boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma) invites his friends to party in the woods. As the group settles into the secluded location, they discover that a UFO has crashed nearby and that they are being observed by one of the craft’s survivors.
They end up attacking and killing the alien, which prompts a series of counterattacks by its crew mates…
The good news is that Extraterrestrial is light years ahead of the Grave Encounters films in terms of quality. The bad news? Pretty much everything else. This feels like a film that has not so much been written as spliced together using scenes from other films, most of which were themselves plodding rehashes of other works.
There’s barely a single original idea on display here – even the title is lifted from Nacho Vigalondo’s 2011 movie. While this suggests a glittering career making entirely safe, cookie cutter movies awaits the Vicious non-siblings, it hardly makes for entertaining viewing unless you like your cinema to be completely familiar and predictable.
David Flint, MOV!ES and MAN!A
Overall, Extraterrestrial looks pretty good: the camera and lens work look significantly better than the budget suggests, the CGI is impressive, and white light spills from flashlights and windows like thick white gauze … Of course, the brothers splice found footage-style bits throughout the film, for reasons that remain indiscernible, and these scenes naturally look awful. More than that, they don’t add anything of value…” Greg Cwik, Indiewire
“There are moments here and there in Extraterrestrial suggesting a touch of self-awareness that they’re treading on well-traveled ground—but being self-aware about these clichés doesn’t change the fact that they’re clichés.” Michael Gingold, Fangoria
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“Unfortunately, its attempt to be scary fails because it never plays with the psyches of its characters. Nobody in the movie’s world believes these kids, yet the viewer knows immediately that the aliens are real, which kills… no… destroys any suspense. Instead, we’re forced to endure a plethora of fake jump scares.” Bloody Disgusting
” …plays like pretty standard slasher fare. It’s in the final act that the pic becomes more ambitious and interesting, though not quite enough to lift the whole from decent-time-filler status to something more inspired. Like the duo’s prior “Grave Encounters” movies, this is a well-crafted, watchable genre effort short on novel ideas and distinctive dialogue/character writing.” Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Unfortunately, once “Extraterrestrial” finally delivers its most emotionally draining scene, it keeps right on going. Thankfully, these are some of the film’s most visually impressive sequences. But by this point, Minihan and Ortiz’s lack of discipline, and frequent cribbing from just about everything, including The Matrix and Alien, has worn away a lot of good will. There’s a lot to like about Extraterrestrial, but not enough to leave you completely satisfied.” Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com
” … the Brothers simply recycle the staples without any smarter purpose – there’s even a cabin in the woods, but just a plain old non-ironic, pre-Cabin in the Woods cabin in the woods. It’s all about as pleasurable as the inevitable alien anal probe. Extra-terrible, more like.” Jonathan Romney, The Guardian
Cast and characters:
- Brittany Allen … April
- Freddie Stroma … Kyle
- Melanie Papalia … Melanie
- Jesse Moss … Seth
- Anja Savcic … Lex
- Gil Bellows … Sherif Murphy
- Michael Ironside … Travis
- Sean Rogerson … Deputy Mitchell
- Emily Perkins … Nancy
- Mike Kovac … Clerk
- Ian Brown … Farmer
- Fred Keating … Mike
- Mackenzie Gray … Man in Black
- Reese Alexander … Military Officer
Extraterrestrial had its world premiere on April 18, 2014 at the Tribeca Film Festival.