What is scarier than all of the predators, in all the spooky woods, on Earth put together? The answer is as terrifying as the question, and would have to be, the unknown ones that come from deep dark space to terrorize us on our own planet. Even worse, there are several popular conspiracy theories that the US Government has a Treaty with the Aliens. They get to abduct as many people as they want while the Government turns a blind eye. In return they allow us Earthlings to live on this planet like we own the place. The only rule is that there must be no contact of force against the aliens. The latest Horror Sci-Fi movie, Extraterrestrial, released IFC Midnight November 21st 2014, focuses its story on that ghastly presumption. Written by The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan & Stuart Oritz: Grave Encounters 2011, Grave Encounters 2 2012) and directed by one half of the two, Minihan, Extraterrestrial runs for one-hundred and one electrifying minutes.
Filmed in Canada by both Observational and Found Footage style, Extraterrestrial begins with a bang as a disheveled woman named Nancy (Emily Perkins: Ginger Snaps Trilogy, Jun0 2007), knocks on the door of a nearby gas station. She needs help, pleading, she gets the gas station attendants attention, but he does not let her in. She runs to a phone booth to call 911, but moments after the call connects she and the phone booth are encompassed a blinding white light and ear piercing screams. Alarmed by the noise, the attendant rushes out to see what happens only to discover the entire phone booth has disappeared, only to crash back to Earth moments later.
Local Sheriff Murphy (Gil Bellows: The Shawshank Redemption 1994, The Weather Man 2005) investigates the scene and takes a report from the stunned attendant. Normally they would assume the attendant was high, but this is not the only strange incident going on around town, several animals have also been mutilated, more people are disappearing, and Murphy is not sure what the hell is going on. After catching them during a traffic offence, Sheriff pulls over April (Brittany Allen: The Rocker 2008, Dead Before Dawn 3D 2012), her boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 2011, Pitch Perfect 2012), and friends, Lex (Anja Savcic: I Love You, Beth Cooper 2009, Repeater 2010), Melanie (Melanie Papalia: American Pie Presents: The Book of Love 2009, The Den 2013), Rusty the dog, and smart aleck Seth (Jesse Moss: Final Destination 3 2006, Tucker and Dale vs Evil 2010), on the way to April’s father’s cabin. The Sheriff warns them to be careful. April is preoccupied by getting the cabin ready for sale, and none of the others pay much attention to the Sheriff’s warning. Murphy continues to investigate the strange occurrences and learns that Nancy’s husband and son are also missing.
Simultaneously, April and her friends arrive at the cabin to find that it is surrounded by picturesque woods, and creeks. The group ignore nature, start partying, and having a good time. In the afternoon, Melanie and April take Rusty for a walk until he runs off into a cordoned off property and have to follow him inside the barbed fences. They run into crazy farmer and Marijuana grower Travis (Michael Ironside) with a shotgun. Luckily enough he recognises April from when she was young and he becomes quite friendly. Melanie and April return to the cabin with more drugs and the party continues, until a rebuked marriage proposal between two of the group becomes a real downer. The focus is soon changed when the power starts flicking on and off and strange lights appear in the sky only to crash to the Earth. Initially, the group are fascinated by what could be causing the lights in the sky and they go armed with a shotgun looking in the woods. What they find disturbs them, there are torn up animals, and strange goop everywhere.
As they return to the cabin they are startled by a large alien appearing in front of them. The group defend themselves, and inadvertently set off a chain of tumbling events they have no control over. Little do they know this will be just the start of their terrifying adventure. The group must find weapons and fortify the cabin to protect themselves. But will it be enough? Throughout every challenging and frightening situation, April and Kyle stick together, although it tests each bond between the friends. Not all of them are up for the task, which puts further obstacles in front of their chances of survival. While Travis may be paranoid and somewhat delusional, hopefully he will provide a decent ally when the time comes. Will the arrival of the sympathetic Sheriff and the cynical Deputy be any help for them at all, or will it just put them all in grave danger?
The special effects are exquisitely creepy, and in combination with the cinematography by Samy Inayeh (Portrait as a Random Act of violence 2013, The Truth about Rainbows 2013), creates a frightening atmosphere that will keep viewers out of the woods for years to come. Extraterrestrial delves further than other alien abduction movies before it, and while it may contain certain stereotypical characters, very un-stereotypical things happen to them. This movie turns the table on the alien abduction genre, and it really comes down to a tragic romance between April and Kyle, more doomed than Romeo and Juliet. Extraterrestrial packs a big punch, full of action, and dark intense scenes, leaving the viewer wondering what the heck just happened to them. If the viewer wants to be scared, truly scared, make sure that Extraterrestrial is on the must-watch list. The Vicious Brothers are certainly ones to keep an eye on. Outstanding viewing, with an intricate story line, in depth character development and excellent acting, CrypticRock scores Extraterrestrial an otherworldly 5 out of 5 stars.