Dir: The Brothers Strause
Star: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed

Out in LA for his childhood friend's birthday party, Jarrod (Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Thompson) are woken in the middle of the night by lights descending from the sky. The lights are capable of hypnotising humans, allowing them to be collected by what appear to be gigantic alien machines. An attempt to reach the nearby marina, in the hope of sailing away from the carnage, goes badly wrong, and the group are forced back into hiding in the apartment building. An Air Force attack on the mothership succeeds in hitting it with a nuclear weapon; however, the effect is only temporary, and the ship repairs itself. When helicopters land troops on the roof of the building, that presents another possible escape route, only for hopes to be dashed there as well. It's looking pretty much like it will be curtains for the human race.

If the above plot synopsis is skimpy, that's because the storyline is not so much thin, as anorexic. It's not much more than an excuse for the characters to run around, being pursued by nasty, tenticular alien creatures, intent on sucking out their brains because... Because they're nasty, tenticular alien creatures, all right? Given this, it does what it does surprisingly well, especially considering this is from the people to blame for the awful A vs. P: Requiem. The large-scale mayhem is particularly well-handled, and it certainly looks swell, particularly for a film whose budget is reportedly only in the $10-20 million range. This probably explains the lack of big-name actors, though you'd be hard-pushed to say they're missed - supporting members from Dexter and Haven, plus the black guy from Scrubs, is about as heavyweight as it gets, so you're talking much more face than name recognition. But it still needs a significantly better script and characters if it's to make more than the shallowest of impressions on the viewer.

[May 2014]

Independence night
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