Published on May 10th, 2014 | by Greg0
Not The ET You Remember: Extraterrestrial At Tribeca Film Fest
A couple of weeks ago, we managed to catch some of the hugely successful Tribeca Film Festival. Though scheduling conflicts prevented us from seeing most of the films and panels that we had hoped to originally attend, we were still very excited by the great lineup, featuring dozens of films and shorts from all across the globe. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Tribeca Film Fest took over the city, with celebrities crowding into screenings and producers and directors and filmmakers all jockeying to see their work on screen, sometimes for the premiere showings.
One of the Midnight slate of films, the sci-fi horror feature Extraterrestrial was an unusually intense ride that reminded us a bit of the excellent Cabin in the Woods. It begins with a trip taken by five college friends escaping for a weekend, and moves quickly into territory you would never expect. There’s a pot-growing Vietnam Vet neighbor and a police force with issues, but the backdrop of the story is a set of mysterious disappearances that have been plaguing the small town, backwoods area for quite some time. And when the UFO crash lands, that’s just the beginning of the story. It seems for a moment like it’s going to slide into found footage cult favorite “Chronicle” but twists into horror, and screenwriters The Vicious Brothers keep the surprises coming. There might be a few too many endings- we counted around four places the film could have stopped- but the last section is a remarkably bold choice, taking what seemed like a fairly tight, small film and pushing it into big-budget territory.
It’s no surprise that the guys behind Grave Encounters would make a film like this. And most of the team was perfectly adequate or better- director Colin Minihan does a fine job and cinematographer Samy Inayeh manages to balance scale and mix things up a bit, finding some good angles and playing with our conventions of the genre. Only a few groaners in the script and some dialogue issues kept it from being a possible classic, and the leads didn’t quite capture our attention. Much of the acting felt just slightly too on the nose, though there are a few stellar moments pulled off by Brittany Allen and Freddie Stroma. Even the soundtrack was occasionally unexpected, pushing the envelope a bit.
You certainly haven’t seen an ET movie quite like this one. It’s certainly not a “good guys win” traditional sort of affair, but the audience seemed to enjoy most every moment of the roller coaster ride. There doesn’t appear to be a trailer yet, nor a firm release date, but if it comes to a theater near you and you’re a fan of alien abduction flicks, then make sure you check out Extraterrestrial!