Hmm… how best to summarise this film? A Cabin in The Woods setting, with a Roswell backdrop, add equal measures of ID4, Signs and Dark Skies, a pinch of the X-Files, borrow heavily from Spielberg’s Taken (2002), with a dash of torture porn thrown in at the end… I think that does it justice!
So what we have here are a group of teenagers that sadly, we don’t ever get to care about, going off to stay at a family-owned cabin in the woods, located just slightly to the left of the middle of nowhere. The “middle of nowhere” is actually substantial enough to have a sheriff, played by the more than capable Gil Bellows (most recently seen in SyFy’s Ascension), and he is actually busy looking into a series of mysterious disappearances in the area – this is somewhat linked to the recent loss of a loved one). We are also introduced to a long-lost family friend of one of the teenagers, a lovely tongue-in-cheek turn by genre favourite Michael Ironside, as a local marijuana-farmer-come-conspiracy-theorist, and it is shortly after his take on local lore that the plot really kicks in. A storm forces a flying saucer to crash in the woods, and in a mix of fear & confusion, one of our teens carry a gun (’cause that’s what you do in a storm) ends up killing one of the aliens on the ship. This unfortunately breaks a decades-old agreement between man & alien never to engage with each other, and sets up a chain of events whereby more aliens turn up, effectively with a grudge, looking for revenge on our teenagers, with the trusty sheriff in pursuit behind them.
Very little about this film is remotely original, borrowing very heavily from genre stalwarts old & new as detailed in my opening gambit; it is shot very nicely though, with a good mix of “found footage” thrown in to good effect; and speaking of effects, the CGI is somewhere between “okay” and satisfactory.
It’s certainly entertaining enough, and although the ending is a little unsatisfying, it’s worth a watch if a more conspiratorial alien attack is your bag. The acting is pretty lame – Bellows is wasted, and the teens largely forgettable, but Ironside’s insertion did raise the occasional smile on my face. Overall, a good evening in shouting at the TV screen with some friends, a case of beer, and Chilli Con Carne!
GS Rating: 3/5
GS Blogger: Silverfox
Source: Signature Entertainment