EXTRATERRESTRIAL **** Canada 2014 Dir: The Vicious Brothers. 96 mins
The Vicious Brothers graduate from the sporadically effective GRAVE ENCOUNTERS movies with this stylish widescreen account of Brittainy Allan’s ill-fated decision to have some cabin-in-the-woods fun with her boyfriend and chums. Just as she neuters said boyfriend’s marriage proposal, a UFO crash-lands near the cabin, a spindly alien stalks everyone, they shoot it dead…and then its loved ones get really, really pissed off.
Reflecting the filmmakers’ earlier work, this effectively incorporates elements of “found footage”, but otherwise offers a conventionally shot, straight-faced throwback to X FILES-era paranoid alien invasion movies, complete with traditional flying saucers, Grey aliens and horrible physical experimentation on humans. The cast is unusually good, with Gil Bellows in the Fox Mulder role, Emily Perkins as an abductee who delivers the most chilling line of dialogue in the picture (“There’s hundreds of people still alive up there…”) and a fabulous cameo from Michael Ironside as a Vietnam vet / conspiracy theorist who divides his time between tracking UFOs and maintaining his vast marijuana supply; it’s Ironside who gets to deliver the line “Come in peace, my ass!” The climax offers a more visceral echo of the memorable extra-terrestrial probing featured in FIRE IN THE SKY, while a strain of 70’s nihilism extends to the cynical conclusion. This taut, well paced flick is further enhanced by an evocative Carpenter-inspired score and terrific FX rare at this budget level.
Review by Steven West