‘Extraterrestrial’ will have you cheering for the killer alien

A UFO crashes right into the middle of some college kid drama and, when they honk off the alien on board, the college kids find themselves running from a superior life form and hiding while still shining their flashlights around for some reason which, as we all know, defeats the purpose of hiding in the first place.

It really sucks to see a movie like Extraterrestrial come along with such amazing promise only to see it march out every trope and cliché in the playbook becoming something so generic and mediocre in the process. It’s not that the move is horrible because I have seen much worse, it’s just that the movie falls short of the greatness that it could have had by stupidly wasting its potential on idiocy and, to me, that’s almost worse than being just out and out bad.

True, it’s got some great visuals and, true, it does surprise once or maybe twice, and true… as a late night popcorn movie, Extraterrestrial is a serviceable attempt, but this movie’s got problems… lots of problems.

The biggest problem being that every character in this movie is an utter moron. I, in the most literal sense of the word, hated every single one of them as they were all little more than what appeared to be some sort of critique about what’s wrong with Generation Me which is about as interesting in practice as listening to some entitled barista complain about people that annoys him.

Shall we count the clichés? We’ve got the stoner, the airhead blonde, the jock jerk, the boyfriend, and the girlfriend. They’re all horrible.

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times… in order for horror to work effectively, you have got to make the audience care about the characters being victimized. Thirty years later, The Exorcist and Poltergeist are still strong scary movies because of the emotional investment you make in the characters. When Carol Anne is sucked into the closet or Reagan is stabbing herself with a crucifix, it kills you a little on the inside.

With Extraterrestrial, you’re actually rooting for the alien. There’s one point at the end of the movie where one of the characters, the most annoying and horrible one out of the group, is tortured for no reason. It doesn’t advance the plot, it’s not scary, and it seems to happen just to happen as if the filmmakers were all like, “Hey, look! We hate this guy too! Watch what we’re doing to him!”

When a run of the mill slasher movie is suddenly transformed into torture porn just to kill off one character… what more can you say about that? Who was that for, anyway?

The actors in this movie are just the worst I have seen in a very very very very long time. They were never convincing, they were never restrained, and they were never believable for a single moment. Let’s be honest, they were hired for their visual appeal only… but, then again, I’m not sure anyone could have made this script sound convincing even if they were decent actors.

To its credit, Extraterrestrial does offer some very nice visuals. The alien, though the familiar gray alien that modern culture has made famous, is sufficiently mysterious and scary even if the filmmakers clumsily make him a visual centerpiece at times. There are a couple of times that Extraterrestrial actually surprised me too… one of those Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea moments if you catch my drift.

In the end, though, you’ll remember Extraterrestrial for being a bungled opportunity more than anything else and that anything else won’t be much. It’s clumsy, but not offensively so. It’s been done, but the visuals and a couple of moments keep it a step away from molding completely, and it’s a ho-hum adventure until the last few minutes when it actually gets intriguing doing what it should have been doing the entire movie. By the time that’s over with, it devolves into something tragically sappy that, quite frankly, it hasn’t earned the right to do. Strangely, there’s also a very blatant nod to The X-Files that completely detracts from the ending.

Yeah, with its worthless characters and bottom heavy pace, it’s frustrating but at least worth a look because of the few things it did right in all that it did wrong.

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