Extraterrestrial

extraterrestrial

A series of inadequately reheated cliches, Extraterrestrial isn’t good for much. Too familiar to surprise or shock, even when it goes crude. In the third act, there’s both a probe joke and a probe scene, which includes a brief shot of a bare ass as the device approaches, followed by a cut away as some blood spatters, then the victim going limp. Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz probably high-fived when they wrote this into their script. The duo come across as self-satisfied, with a screen credit as “The Vicious Brothers,” a nom de plume which only betrays how safe their every choice is. There’s the party-hard jerk who chickens out when everything gets too freaky, a sheriff with a personal vendetta, and the final girl whose entire dramatic arc revolves around saying “yes” to her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. Even the downer ending happens like it’s being crossed off a list. Supposedly, the joy comes from watching some minor gore effects or listen to the jerk make jokes about his girl’s period, an affectation indie films like this share with small press comics still plying the ‘offensive’ card. Naturally, it was picked up by IFC.

The only person who bothers in Extraterrestrial is Michael Ironside. Playing a pot-growing Vietnam vet who spouts conspiracy theories, Ironside uses his distinguished snarl and grimace to suggest shellshock. He briefly menaces the film’s twenty-somethings in paranoid outbursts, only to sweetly smile at the final girl when he recognizes her. He even occasionally looks ridiculous in his T-shirts with goofy prints. The blank, staring eyes remain constant, though, his head still in the war. He almost looks happy to have a last stand in the underbrush of his grow house. The performance is frayed, almost compelling; no wonder the Vicious Brothers write him off as fodder.

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