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Movie Review: Extraterrestrial

Extraterrestrial poster

@calcium_waste probes this alien abduction film...

The dark storylines of The Vicious Brothers, known for their cult favorites Grave Encounters 1 & 2, have returned in an entirely new way for their newest film, Extraterrestrial. Given the title alone, we know exactly where this film is headed, and it wastes no time getting there. The film begins with an alien abduction, setting the tone and making it seem as though this will be nothing short of formulaic. Thankfully, it throws “formulaic” out the window.

Extraterrestrial is a disturbingly surreal trip through extraterrestrial life and its implications, yet always maintains a darkly enjoyable tone of satire and humor. It is an incredibly fun and cringe-worthy experience, and much of its success relies on Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In The Woods, considering its recent reintroduction to satirical horror. To be blunt, Extraterrestrial is basically what happens when you throw Cabin in the Woods and Signs into a blender, but that doesn’t make it any less of a lucid and cerebral experience.

Extraterrestrial scene
The film introduces us to a group of friends headed to a secluded cabin in the woods for the weekend, much to the dismay of April, who was hoping to have a romantic weekend with only her boyfriend, Kyle. The couple and their three friends arrive at the cabin before being warned by a police officer to stay out of trouble and keep to themselves, due to the recent extraterrestrial disturbances (shown in the intro of the film). Yes, formulaic indeed. 

The friends arrive at their destination and are quick to throw the party into full gear, filled with liquor bottles, pot smoke, and fireworks. As night falls, a friend filming the party notices a fire in the sky falling toward the woods nearby, creating a massive explosion upon collision. Drunk and nervously enthused, the group of friends drive toward the point of collision to find a crashed UFO. After finding a set of eerie footprints leading away from the crash, they speed back to their cabin, terrified by their findings. This, as expected, leads to alien attacks, abductions, and a surprising spew of horror and sci-fi satire.

A side-plot of the film follows a cop as he investigates the recent disappearances that have been taking place in the town, with people claiming UFO sightings and abductions. Of course, it is not long before the group of friends find themselves talking to the cops about the events they witnessed, including the abduction of one of their friends.

Extraterrestrial scene
Extraterrestrial is a slow-burn film, taking its time to build intensity and doing so with such intricacy that the end becomes entirely unpredictable. As an alien film, it feels like a slapstick throwback to early 60s alien cinema, embedded with its own mesmerizing and disturbing twist. The layers of Extraterrestrial are unmatched and encompass various concept and theories—some philosophical, some comical. Sure, at the end of the day, it’s a b-horror flick with occasionally atrocious acting, but it’s one that never loses the awareness of its outlandish nature. If it isn’t taken too seriously in terms of character development and plot, it is a fantastically unprecedented watch. Extraterrestrial is fun and crazed, while maintaining an intellectual element of surprise, making it irresistibly gripping. It is also artistic in its ambiance as it builds in suspense, and its dreamy CGI effects are quite stunning. At the end if it all, Extraterrestrial is a darkly enjoyable tale of aliens and the terror they entail, whether it’s treaties with the US or the occasional abductions for experimentations (and, of course, anal probes). Lastly, Extraterrestrial has one of the best executed and most disturbing final acts of any sci-fi horror film I’ve seen in the recent past. It deserves major credit for that.

D.A Zapata

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Images provided by the author & IMDb

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