Much like “The Forgotten”, “Signs” and “The Fourth Kind”, this is yet another alien movie that tries its best to not mention the word “alien”, or at least mention it as infrequently as possible, to prevent the audience from realizing what a silly plot it really is. Honestly, how seriously could you take a movie that had actors screaming “Run! Here come the aliens!” while fleeing from little green men? I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll get to my rants about why it sucks, but first, lets get to the plot.
A random white suburban family is chosen by aliens to be tortured to the point of lunacy before having their child stolen for god only knows what reason.
Nice plot, eh? Let’s get this list started…
1. Guess what I remember most about this movie? The back of Keri Russell’s head. The director was apparently so fixated on the back of her head that seemingly every scene starts and ends with the cameraman following Keri Russell. No over-the-shoulder shots, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the back of her damn head in the center of the frame. Maybe it was the cameraman who had the fixation, because when she wasn’t in the scene, we’d get yet another glorious “back-of-the-head-shot” starring some faceless actor whose head will be more popular than their face. Maybe that was the goal – to have the actors be unrecognizable until they turn to run from the paparazzi. Surprisingly, the aliens are shown soon and frequently in the film. At least, the back of their heads are shown.
2. The tone of this movie is just plain weird. I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters, but at the same time, I wanted to feel sorry for them. Kerri Russell’s husband is unemployed and in denial, so he has that pitiful, “I’m only half a man” attitude throughout the movie. Meanwhile, their two children aren’t offering much to the story. One child has the personality of a stump while the other spends his time watching porn with his friend. Oh, right. There’s an awkward scene where he is talking to a girl and doesn’t know how to act around women, so he grabs her boob, after which she of course yells. The whole scene is weird. The kids are MAYBE fifteen years old, and we are forced to watch a close-up of him grabbing her while they share an awkward first kiss. It’s like one of those scenes that would be uplifting if it wasn’t so damn disturbing. Hmm… awkward kissing scene, food spread all over the floor in the kitchen, aliens playing pranks… why does this sound so familiar? Oh, wait. I know why. To quote sir Maynard: “E-mother@%$#!-T!”
3. On top of ripping off a classic like “E.T.”, none of the damn scenes make any sense! Here we go: Little boy pees himself and screams in a park. Next scene: Kerri Russell twitches and bangs her head into a sliding glass door. Next scene: All of the family pictures are gone. Next scene: An alien builds a fort in the kitchen out of tupperware and dishes. What is going on? Apparently, the aliens like to play pranks on families before they steal their children, so occasionally they possess people just to screw with them. That’s the explanation we are given in the movie. I don’t know what to say. So much random crap going on that I can’t keep up with whatever point the movie is trying to make.
4. J.K. Simmons is in the movie. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with such a great comical actor being in a movie, but this is a horror movie. The man has a talent to make anyone smile just by looking at them, and they have managed to make him a creepy, old alien-fanatic. He’s not creepy in the cool, horror way – more like a “depressing, old man who lives alone and probably eats his meals from a can” way. He’s in the film for a very brief moment and then he’s gone. Just like Vincent D’Onofrio in “Sinister”. Please, if you’re going to make horror-ble movies, stop taking great actors down with you.
5. The end is predictable. Well, let me rephrase that. The ending would have been a surprise if it were the 90’s and no one had seen an M. Night Shyamalan film. By now, we’ve all come to expect the unexpected in movies, but this movie completely ignores today’s standards and gives you just what you think it is – every time. The last scene shows Kerri Russell finding an old drawing by her son depicting his interactions with the aliens at a very young age, at which point she has flashbacks and a revelation of “Er-Mah-Gerd! They wanted him all along!” Yeah, no shit they wanted him. To top off this corny scene, her youngest child is seen holding a walkie-talkie when a static-filled transmission comes through – it’s her alien-napped son! Er… muh… gerd. Fade to black. The movie finally ends.
In closing, if you really feel compelled to watch this, or find yourself in an inescapable situation where you have no other choice, take solace in the fact that the movie goes by quick, some scenes might make you jump, and you can always watch a real horror movie afterward.
Cheers and goodnight.