Kids vs. Aliens
kids vs. aliens | jason eisener | john davies | dominic mariche | phoebe rex | calem macdonald | alien | aliens | sci-fi | united states | asher grayson | ben tector | emma vickers | isaiah fortune | jonathan torrens | jessica marie brown | monte murray | lee j. campbell
Film: Kids vs. Aliens
Director: Jason Eisener
Writers: John Davies and Jason Eisener
Starring: Dominic Mariche, Phoebe Rex and Calem MacDonald
This was a movie that I tried to fit into my schedule when it came to the Gateway Film Center, but I couldn't make it work. It went on a list of ones to potentially see this year. Duncan from the Podcast Under the Stairs enjoyed this so that helped me make sure to not miss it as well. Other than that, the title made me think about the segment from V/H/S/2 of Slumber Party Alien Abduction. I'll come back to this as well.
Synopsis: an all-time rager of a teen house party turns to terror when aliens attack, forcing two warring siblings to band together to survive the night.
We start this on a fishing boat. This is a small crew and they're attacked by aliens. It then shifts over to the family that we're following for this. Gary (Dominic Mariche) is making a movie along with his friends Jack (Asher Grayson) and Miles (Ben Tector). Gary's older sister is tasked with watching her younger brother, but also takes part in what they're doing. Her name is Samantha (Phoebe Rex).
They have an old barn where a wrestling ring amongst other things are kept. This group is filming there when another group shows up. They're older and bullies. Billy (Calem MacDonald) is their leader. He is joined by Trish (Emma Vickers) and Dallas (Isaiah Fortune). Billy seems interested in Samantha, which throws her off. It also upsets her brother and his friends.
What we learn as well is that Gary and Samantha's parents are away for work. Gary breaks his arm, which upsets them and they blame their daughter for not being there. What they don't realize is that she is taking on their job. Billy complicates this more when he hits on Samantha. He goes as far to convince her to throw a party.
The siblings are at odds. The party also gets out of control. It pales in comparison though when the aliens from the beginning attack. Gary, Billy and others are taken back to the spacecraft. Samantha is forced to step up to save them before it is too late.
That is where I'm going to leave my recap and introduction to our characters. Where I want to start is that ahead of seeing this, I thought this sounded like that segment I brought up earlier from V/H/S/2. When the credits in the beginning started, I noticed names that were associated with that anthology. Settling in to write this, I did see that the director/co-writers did Slumber Party Alien Abduction. It makes sense.
Now with that set up, what I like is that they did a good job at taking that short and then expanding on it. I should say that the first-time watching V/H/S/2, I didn't care for it. It was one that I rated near the bottom. With a second viewing, my stance changed and I appreciated it more. What I remembered was that the older sibling didn't care for the younger one which made issues. I like that this captures that, but it develops it more. Samantha has fun with her brother and his friends. It isn't until she gets that taste of being with the popular crew that she changes. If I do have an issue here, the low running time doesn't develop this enough. It's not a major issue though as it feels real enough.
Having brought this up, let me talk about this group of kids. What I like is that it feels like my group of friends when I was closer to that age. We were into video games and things that would be considered 'weird'. I will say I've always been a chameleon where I could hang out with different groups with no issues. These kids have fun and embrace being who they are. I forgive Samantha as she is in that awkward age. You want to fit in and be popular. I'll credit Mariche, Rex, Grayson and Tector.
Moving then to the other group. Billy and Trish are bullies. I think they go a bit into the 'evil villain' which can be a bit much for high school kids. Dallas just seems to go along with them. What I will say though, I love what Billy does when the aliens attack. He feels like a scumbag that would use those around him to survive. I did appreciate that. I'd say that MacDonald, Vickers and Fortune were all solid as well.
Then the only other group would be the aliens. I'll shift this into the effects here. The look of them is fine. It fits the idea that we would have for them. What I like is that we don't linger on them so we can’t critique it too hard. We get images of it as things get manic when the attacks happen. That is done strategically to hide them as well as raise tension. There are good effects that we get as we reach the climax. One involves melting, another when the characters fight back. I did enjoy that as they looked practical. I'd say that the use of lights for the aliens and the cinematography were also good. The soundtrack adds to it with driving tension with the lights as well.
I'm not sure that is much more that I need to say about this one. In conclusion, this is a fun movie. It is fast paced, doesn't take too long to get into it and ends in a flurry. I like the characters that we have on both sides. It is interesting that they're against each other until a more dangerous group shows up. The acting is good. No issues there. I think that this is also well-made. This is one that I would recommend giving a viewing. It isn't great, but it is a fun watch.
My Rating: 7 out of 10