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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Extraterrestrial movie review: no intelligent life on Earth

Extraterrestrial red light

Utterly empty. It’s aware of the tropes of the new mythos of alien abductions, but makes no attempt to find anything even the slightest bit fresh in them.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): so tired of traditional horror movies

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s literally a Cabin in the Woods scenario in which the hapless 20somethings invoke — among all the many scary options for their own mass slaughter they didn’t realize they had — an alien abduction, and without Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins having made bets on it. When I said that Cabin “render[ed] all past and future examples of the genre superfluous,” this is precisely the sort of movie I was imagining could no longer be made in its wake… and frankly I’m astonished that anyone had the gumption to do so. Filmmakers Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz apparently have no fear of being laughed off the screen; they call themselves The Vicious Brothers, after all, and that is so adorable, like what a couple of 12-year-olds with Dad’s camcorder might think is an edgy nom de film. Extraterrestrial is visually much slicker than what those kids might make, but it’s utterly empty, and shows no evidence of adult involvement in its production. It introduces its heroine, April (Brittany Allen), ass-first and makes jokes about anal probings, as you might expect from pubescent filmmakers. It’s aware of the tropes of the new mythos of alien abductions — animal mutilations! — but makes no attempt to find anything even the slightest bit fresh in them. It thinks it’s being horrific in its depiction of what goes on when a human gets abducted by aliens, but it’s nothing compared to the comparable nightmare-inducing sequence in the 20-year-old Fire in the Sky. It has nothing to say, except this: “Ladies, don’t be a bitch and turn down a marriage proposal from your nice-guy boyfriend, because he might get abducted by aliens and then you’ll be sorry.” I kept waiting for the twist that would indicate that yes, The Vicious Brothers have seen Cabin in the Woods and have a response to it, a moment that might make their movie worth anyone’s time. Instead, all they have is a lame X-Files reference.

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Extraterrestrial (2014)
US/Can release: Nov 21 2014 (VOD Oct 17 2014)
UK/Ire release: Oct 29 2014

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated APJ (contains anal-probing jokes)
MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, violence, gore, sustained threat)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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