The last film from The Vicious Brothers (who aren’t–biologically speaking–brothers) was the send-up of found footage reality shows, Grave Encounters. It was one of the better examples of the genre because it was able to take many of the tropes that come with it (How is it that no matter what or where something happens there’s a camera conveniently located to capture it? How are people are able to run with a camera in their hands and still manage to maintain an image that’s not nausea-inducing? It’s almost as if they’re working with a steady cam or something) and at least make them interesting.
As a result I went into Extraterrestrial with higher expectations than I would traditionally, and was a bit let down. Visually, aboard the alien spaceship–the last half hour or so of the movie)–was way too indebted to better alien abduction movies, like 1993’s Fire In The Sky.
Another problem was that the aliens were particularly murderous, which seems a bit at odds with the whole studying humanity part of their mission. And speaking of violent tendencies, there’s a scene that plays with a joke earlier in the movie about the anal probing that aliens supposedly love doing on those they abduct.
Only this time, it’s used as an implement of torture. which makes you wonder what sort of highly advanced culture would travel seemingly light-years across the galaxy, just to kill someone by drilling into their ass. Besides, if their intent from the start was murderous, then why bother bringing them aboard their ship at all? Especially since these aliens–while resembling those from Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind–aren’t nearly as munificent.
This tonal inconsistency is particularly irritating in the last ten minutes of the movie, when it turns to The X-Files, complete with its own ‘Smoking Man.’ It’s an interesting homage, but it literally makes no sense because what would be the point of the military killing the abductees, when no one would believe them anyway?
And those that did would probably be so much on the fringe that it wouldn’t even matter. The scene in question doesn’t ruin the movie, but the needless cynicism came pretty close.
Extraterrestrial has recently landed on Netflix.